How is slapped cheek syndrome treated?

There is no vaccine for slapped cheek syndrome, and there is no specific treatment for the condition. Symptoms of slap cheek syndrome, such as fever or pain, can be treated with over-the-counter pain medications, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin). For some individuals, cessation of immunosuppressive therapy has helped them clear chronic infections. In pregnant women, infection before 20 weeks gestation warrants referral to a maternal-fetal medicine specialist.

What are the potential complications of slapped cheek syndrome?

Slapped cheek syndrome is usually very mild. Certain groups of people are more prone to developing complications of slapped cheek syndrome.

If a pregnant woman is infected with the virus that causes slapped cheek syndrome, her baby may have birth defects. Slapped cheek syndrome may cause severe, even life-threatening, anemia in people with a compromised immune system as a result of HIV/AIDS, medications to suppress the immune system after an organ transplant, cancer or cancer treatment, or taking corticosteroids. You can help minimize your risk of serious complications by following the treatment plan you and your health care professional design specifically for you. Complications of slapped cheek syndrome include:

  • Arthritis
  • Birth defects
  • Chronic anemia
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Hepatitis
  • Kidney diseases
  • Myocarditis
  • Pericarditis
  • Persistent virus in the blood system for months or years
  • Pregnancy complications


  1. Parvovirus B19 and Fifth Disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  2. Domino FJ (Ed.) Five Minute Clinical Consult. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2013.
  3. Fifth disease. PubMed Health, a service of the NLM from the NIH.
  4. Parvovirus B19 and fifth disease. CDC National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
  5. Feigin RD, Cherry JD, Demmler-Harrison GJ, Kaplan SL (Eds), Textbook of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, 6th ed. Philadelphia: Saunders, 2009.
  6. Wiggli B, Imhof E, Meier CA, Laifer G. Water, water, everywhere. Acute parvovirus B19 infection. Lancet 2013; 381:776.

What is slapped cheek syndrome?

Slapped cheek syndrome, also called fifth disease or erythema infectiosum, is a mild infectious condition that occurs mostly in children. It is named for its distinctive facial rash, which resembles slapped cheeks. Slapped cheek syndrome is caused by an infection with parvovirus B19.

Slapped cheek syndrome is usually mild, accompanied by Read more about slapped cheek syndromeintroduction


What are the symptoms of slapped cheek syndrome?

Symptoms of slapped cheek syndrome may include fatigue, fever, or joint pain for three to five days, followed in most people by a distinct rash on the cheeks and sometimes the arms, legs or trunk. More rarely, anemia can be associated with slapped cheek syndrome, especially in individuals with other conditions such as si... Read more about slapped cheek syndromesymptoms


What causes slapped cheek syndrome?

Slapped cheek syndrome is caused by an infection with parvovirus B19. This virus is contagious and passed from person to person by saliva or mucus. Parvovirus B19 infects only humans, although a different disease with a similar name affects animals. Slapped cheek syndrome is most common in children, and it is also called fifth disease or erythema infectiosum.

Slap cheek syndrome i... Read more about slapped cheek syndromecauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 30, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Infections and Contagious Diseases

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