Slapped Cheek Syndrome: What To Look Out For 7 years ago

Slapped Cheek Syndrome: What To Look Out For

Every now and then, our kids can present with unusual symptoms when they are unwell, leaving us terrified and running to the phone or internet at 4 am to see if they match to anything specific.

Obviously, the best course of action if you are worried about anything to do with the health of your kids, is to get an expert medical opinion.

And in the meantime, here is some helpful information that we have gathered from the HSE website for you to read. Forewarned is forearmed!

What is Slapped Cheek Syndrome?

Slapped cheek is a viral infection caused by a human virus called 'Parvovirus B19'.

It usually affects children between the ages of four and ten but can happen at any age, even in adulthood.

It is not life threatening and complications are rare.

Signs and symptoms:

Symptoms can take between four to fourteen days to appear after getting the virus.


The symptoms are usually so mild that many people don't even know they have had it.

The first symptoms can include fever, headache, stomach upsets, aches and pains. This is the time when the virus can be spread to others, mainly through saliva.

A bright red rash appears on the cheeks three to seven days after getting the virus. The cheeks look like they have been slapped, hence the name 'Slapped Cheek'.

Your child may also have a different rash on the chest, back, arms and legs.The infection looks like a pink lace pattern on the skin. The rash can come and go for several weeks, especially if the skin is exposed to sunlight or after exercise.


(Image via eHealthWall)

How is it spread?

Slapped cheek is spread by touching or breathing in the coughed or sneezed fluid drops from an infected person.



Most children do not need any treatment except for resting and allowing the body to fight the infection.

Fever may be controlled with paracetamol.

Antibiotics will not work because slapped cheek is caused by a virus.

At home care:

Once you can see the rash on the face, children cannot spread the infection to others. Children can keep going to school or daycare.

A few children may develop swelling and pain in the joint of their hands and feet. If this happens they should see a doctor for advice on how to treat these symptoms.

Special consideration:

Anyone that your infected child has been in contacted with, should be informed if they are pregnant or if their immune system is compromised in any way, eg, someone with HIV or is receiving chemotherapy treatment, for example.

*If you are pregnant and exposed to someone with slapped cheek, you should inform your GP straight away as your unborn baby can get a type of anaemia if you have not had human parvovirus B19 in the past.

If you have any medical concerns, contact your family GP immediately.