What is Parvovirus Infection?
Parvovirus infection is a prevalent and highly contagious childhood disease. It is sometimes called “slap disease” because of the red rash on the cheeks.
It also calls the “fifth disease” because, historically, it was the fifth on the list of common childhood illnesses branded by a rash.
In most children, it is mild and needs little action. But in some adults, the disease can be severe.
Parvovirus infection in some pregnant women can cause serious health problems for the fetus. The disorder is also more severe in people who have some anemia or a depressed immune system.
What are the Symptoms of Parvovirus Infection?
Most people with a parvovirus infection have no signs or symptoms. When symptoms appear, they vary greatly depending on the age at which the disease contract.
The first signs and symptoms of parvovirus infection in children include:
- Stomach ache;
- Runny nose;
- Characteristic facial rash;
- Several days after the first symptoms appear, a characteristic facial skin rash may appear on your child’s face, bright red, usually on both cheeks.
- Over time, it can spread to the arms, trunk, thighs, and buttocks, where the rash takes on a pink, reticulated, and slightly raised appearance.
- The rash may itch, especially on the soles of the feet.
- Usually, the rash occurs near the end of the disease. It can be mistaken for other viral rashes or a drug rash.
- The rash can originate and go for up to three weeks and become more visible when the child is exposed to extreme temperatures or spends time in the sun.
- It is not common for adults to develop the “slap disease” rash.
- Instead, the most noticeable symptom in adults is joint pain, which lasts from days to weeks.
- The joints that are most frequently pretentious are the hands, wrists, knees, and ankles.
Causes of Parvovirus Infection
Human parvovirus B19 causes parvovirus infection. It differs from the parvovirus that affects dogs and cats, so it is impossible to catch the disease from a pet or vice versa.
Human parvovirus infection is prevalent in elementary school children during outbreaks in the winter and spring months, but anyone can get it at any time of the year.
It is spread from person to person, like a cold, often through breathing, coughing, and saliva to spread through close person-to-person contact and direct contact.
It can also spread through the blood. An infected pregnant woman can pass the worm to her baby.
The disease is contagious during the week before the skin rash appears. Once the rash looks, you or your child are no longer careful infectious and do not need to be isolated.
What are the Complications of Parvovirus Infection?
1. Parvovirus and Anemia
Parvovirus infection can lead to severe complications for people with anemia. Anemia is a condition in which the cells that carry oxygen throughout the body (red blood cells) deplete faster than the bone marrow can replace them.
Parvovirus infection in people with anemia can stop red blood cell production and cause an anemic attack. Those who have sickle cell anemia are at higher risk.
Parvovirus can also source anemia and related complications in the following cases:
- In unborn children of women infected with parvovirus during pregnancy;
- In people with weakened immune systems.
- It during pregnancy sometimes affects the red blood cells of the fetus.
- Although rare, this can lead to severe anemia, leading to miscarriage or stillbirth in the uterus.
- The fetal risk appears to be highest during the first half of pregnancy.
3. People with Weakened Immune Systems
Infection caused by parvovirus can also cause severe anemia in people with compromised immune systems, which can have the following causes:
- Human immunodeficiency virus infection;
- Oncological treatments;
- Anti-rejection drugs given after an organ transplant.
Prevention of Parvovirus Infection
There is no vaccine to prevent human parvovirus infection. Once you become infected with parvovirus, you gain lifelong immunity.
You can reduce the chances of getting an infection by washing your hands, and your child’s often, not touching your face, evading sick people, and not sharing food or drinks.
What is the Diagnosis of Parvovirus Infection?
About semi of adults are immune to parvovirus infection, most likely due to a previous childhood condition that went unnoticed.
People at risk for severe complications from parvovirus may benefit from blood tests.
It can help determine whether they are immune to parvovirus or recently infected.
Treatment of Parvovirus Infection
For an uncomplicated parvovirus infection, self-care treatment at home is usually adequate.
People with severe anemia may want to stay in the hospital and receive blood transfusions.
People with debilitated immune systems may receive antibodies through immunoglobulin injections to treat the infection.
Lifestyle and Home Remedies for Parvovirus Infection
Self-care measures primarily intend to relieve signs and symptoms and calm any discomfort. Make sure you or your child get sufficient rest and drink plenty of fluids.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol and others) may help lower temperatures above 102 ° F (39 ° C) or soothe minor aches and pains.
Be careful when giving aspirin to children or teenagers. Although aspirin approves for use in children older than three years of age, children and adolescents recovering from chickenpox or flu-like indications should not ever take aspirin.
Aspirin is associated with Reye’s syndrome, a rare disease that can put these children’s lives at risk.
It is not practical and unnecessary to isolate your child if he is sick. You won’t know if your child has a parvovirus infection until the rash appears, and by then, your child will no longer spread the disease.
When to See a Doctor
Generally speaking, a doctor’s visit is not necessary for parvovirus infection. However, if your child has a pre-existing disorder that can increase the risk of complications, make an appointment with the doctor. These conditions include the following:
- Sickle cell anemia;
- Impaired immune system;
During the physical examination, the surgeon will pay special attention to rashes on the skin. If you are a woman and have gone through puberty, your doctor will ask if there is a chance that you are pregnant.