Thursday, March 28, 2013

Fifths Disease

It's rare when my children get sick, even the common cold and flu don't usually hit us like others. And it's even rarer when one of them get something I'm not familiar with. After almost 20 years of parenting 8 kids, and growing up with a mother for a nurse, I think I'm pretty experienced with childhood illnesses.

Sunday morning B had a small rash on her cheeks and a spot on her chin. By dinner her cheeks were covered, and bright red. By bedtime it was obviously spreading all over her face. And boy was it itching her! We tried Benedryl, assuming it was an allergic reaction to Something. No affect on the rash and didn't even touch the itch.

The next morning she woke with her face completely covered and starting to swell. I remembered she had complained a bit of a sore throat off and on, and started to think Scarlet Fever. I kept her home, and we headed off to the walk-in clinic at nap time.

Her rapid Strep test came back negative and her white blood cell count normal. She was dxed with Fifths Disease. Something I'd heard of before but didn't have any first hand experience of. There's no treatment for it, other than letting it run it's course and Ibuprofen if you choose. And I'm still trying to figure out exactly How long it runs. Some say a few days to a week. Some say up to 3 weeks, or more.

At this point the rash has been getting worse, and her face has swollen to almost twice it's size. She's had some spreading down her throat and a few spots show up on her arms, but nothing like her face. She's missed the whole week of school, this is unheard of in our house. A day, maybe two is the most anyone's ever missed. She's hating it!

A few things we've learned throughout this: she should stay away from pregnant women (catching Fifths Disease can have serious health consequences for the unborn baby. A friend of mine, who was pregnant at the same time I was with J, caught it and complicated her pregnancy. Her story turned out well and her little Bubble is a healthy 2yo.) Another thing, as B learned via Google (so much her mother's daughter! Lol), is exercise and sunlight can "reactivate" it. So she's taking it easy. Also according to B (I have not verified this myself), your mostly  contagious during the early parts of the virus (oh yes! this is a virus), the time when you're experiencing the sore throat. So at this point she May not be contagious but with 3 pregnant teachers at her school, we're not taking any chances. Some say most people already carry an immunity, but considering we've never had it in our family, this is still debatable to me. Much like saying just because someone has been vaxed against whopping cough, they can't catch it or spread it. We know this is wrong, so like other viruses the best way to stop the spread is by quarantining the sick one.

As for treatment, there isn't one. It's a virus. Antibiotics won't help, unless she develops a secondary infection which is possible. Benedryl may help with the itching, but it hasn't done anything for B's. Ibuprofen helps her swelling, and in general helps the ache. I mixed up a salve of coconut oil, lavender, melrose, purification and theives essential oils. Which she says help cool her skin and relieves some of the itch. Melrose and purification are both anti-virals. Thieves for viral infections. And Lavender for calming. And plenty of rest!

(The Disclaimer: I am Not a health professional. Please speak with your own for your medical conditions. Thid post is Not meant to be medical advice and some information may be wrong, as I am not perfect and only human. This post Is Only a record of our experiences.)

So we riding the waves of this storm. Gaining experience for our bags. I may need it again, and sooner rather than later as C has now developed a similar rash on the back of his neck. (Eek!)

(Edit: Mobile Blogger isn't letting me publish with pictures from my phone at the moment, so I'll try to re-edit this later to add them.)

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