Health tips

Slapped cheek syndrome

It’s slapped cheek season folks.  This condition tends to peak in April/May time.

(Disclaimer: My son is a) not a clown and b) was not suffering with slapped cheek at the time this image was taken.  A spot of artistic license.)

 What is slapped cheek? 

Slapped cheek is a very common and mild infection of childhood that resolves without the need for much in the way of treatment.

It is an important condition because it may be harmful to unborn babies and increases the risk of miscarriage, so pregnant women that come in contact with the disease need to be seen by a doctor and have a blood test to check if they are immune to the condition or not.

A large percentage of us will have had this infection during our childhood and so as a result we cannot catch it again.

However – there will be a proportion of pregnant woman who have never had slapped cheek syndrome and for those women there is a risk to their unborn child.

How do I know if my child has slapped cheek syndrome?

The clue is indeed in the name!  The cheeks (on the face, just to clarify…) are typically very red and many will also have had the symptoms of a cold in the run up to appearance of the rash.

What do I need to do about it?

Nothing.  It is a very mild condition that does not cause problems in children that are otherwise fit and well.

I do recommend that you inform any pregnant friends or family that may have been in contact with your child in the days before the appearance of the rash.

Can my child go to school/nursery?

Yep.  No real merit in quarantining your child as by the time they are manifesting the typical rash- they have already been infectious for the last few days or weeks anyway!

Might be worth informing the school though so that any pregnant mums can keep an eye out for the condition in their little ones.

I’m pregnant and I think my child/friend’s child has slapped cheek syndrome, what should I do?

The recommendation is that you go see your GP.  They will take a history and if there is any concern you may have been exposed to slapped cheek syndrome they can request a blood testthat will confirm whether you have had the infection before and if you are immune to it.

If you are immune – you don’t need to do anything.  Once you have had slapped cheek once, you won’t get it again.

If you are not immune – then the hospital will scan and monitor you more closely throughout the rest of the pregnancy.

If any complications develop in your unborn child because of slapped cheek syndrome- many of them can be managed.

So it is important to let your doctor know if you are worried you have been exposed to the slapped cheek virus and the obstetricians can then keep an eye on your baby.

The information in the link below is very useful to take to your GP/midwife if you have any concerns as it explains which blood tests need to be requested to check if you are immune to slapped cheek syndrome or not.!topicsummary

Please share amongst pregnant women and carers of young children to spread awareness of this pretty common disease.

Dr Claudia x

Please note: The materials in this web site are in no way intended to replace the professional medical care, advice, diagnosis or treatment of a doctor. The web site does not have answers to all problems. Answers to specific problems may not apply to everyone. If you notice medical symptoms or feel ill, you should consult your doctor. Dr Claudia x

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