Have You Heard of Slapped Cheek Syndrome?

Not all viral infections are serious. Some of them can be controlled by your immune system. One example of those is what’s known as slapped cheek syndrome. It got its name from the fact that one of its signs and symptoms is a bright red mark on the face that makes it seem like the person who has the viral infection has just been slapped on the cheeks.

Slapped cheek syndrome is more common in children, although everyone else at any age can become infected, too. The good news is this is a one-time infection only, meaning you are immune to it for the rest of your life after getting it.

Keep on reading to know some of the most important matters about slapped cheek syndrome, such as its cause, signs and symptoms, and treatment. Don’t forget to share this article on your various social media sites to get your family members and friends introduced to it, too.


The reason behind slapped cheek syndrome is a virus called parvovirus B19. Sometimes it is simply referred to by the name of the virus behind it, while other times medical authorities choose to refer to it as fifth disease.

As one would suspect, a viral infection such as slapped cheek syndrome is highly contagious. It can easily spread from one person to the other by means of droplets. You can end up with it when someone who is infected coughs or sneezes right in front of you. You are also at higher risk if you are not fond of washing your hands.

There are many signs and symptoms of slapped cheek syndrome, although a well-known characteristic of such is the appearance of a bright red rash on both cheeks. However, it’s something that shows up a few days after other signs and symptoms have started appearing, which will be discussed later on.

Signs and Symptoms

Initially, slapped cheek syndrome causes signs and symptoms that are similar to the ones encountered during the common cold or flu. They include low-grade fever, a headache, sore throat, runny nose, an upset stomach and a general feeling of being unwell. Adults may also experience joint pain and stiffness which may linger for weeks or months even if all the other signs and symptoms have gone.

The infection is at its most communicable when the above-mentioned signs and symptoms are around. A few days after all of them will go away, which is a sign that the person who has it is no longer infectious, meaning he or she can no longer pass the virus to someone else.

It’s during such time when the characteristic slapped cheek appearance shows up. After a few days more, a pinkish lace-like rash may appear on the chest, belly, arms and thighs of the individual. By the way, some adults may not have a bright red rash on the cheeks.


Just like with any other viral infections known to man, slapped cheek syndrome doesn’t have a cure. But unlike most other viral infections out there, there is no vaccine available for it. But that’s okay because slapped cheek syndrome is not really a serious matter, and someone who gets infected with it develops immunity for life.

Slapped cheek syndrome is only regarded as something serious if the person who becomes infected has a weakened immune system or blood disorder. It’s also important for a pregnant woman who becomes infected to immediately seek the help of a doctor as it can have negative effects on the baby growing inside her womb.

Taking plenty of rest and drinking lots of fluids are recommended for people who are suffering from slapped cheek syndrome. OTC antipyretic and painkiller may be taken to deal with fever and pain, and antihistamines may be administered to alleviate skin itchiness.

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