Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Don’t be Rash

“You look rather rash my dear - your colors don't quite match your face.” ~Daisy Ashford

“One learns to itch where one can scratch.” ~Scott Reed

“Happiness is having a scratch for every itch.” ~Ogden Nash

I had to call and apologize to several friends yesterday. About ten days ago, my daughter went to a birthday party. Before it was over, I was called that she was crying in the bathroom and wanted me. When I arrived, she was “so tired” and “just want[ed] to go to sleep!”

After we got home, I noticed she had a slight fever. She complained of a headache, tummy ache, and fatigue. She fell asleep on the couch – totally abnormal for her, the child who will go to the ends of the earth to not go to sleep. We call her the Master of the Stall Tactic.

The next day she was fine.

Because I credited the slight increase in body temperature to her getting worked up and crying, I decided not to alert my friends (the birthday partipants’ parents). I figured since she was fine now, it must have been a fluke.

Yeah, right.

Yesterday we were driving in the car and she said, “Uh, mom? You know the top part of your leg?”

“The thigh, yes?”

“OK, thigh. Anyway, the top halves of my thighs are splotchy.”

Uh … okay.

Sure enough, when we got home, she showed me a very distinct, lacy rash … not only on the top parts of her thighs but also on the backs of her upper arms. Oh, and on her lower back. And on her … well, you get the point. (Today it has spread down her legs and arms and onto the tops of her feet, her chest and belly as well.)

OK, so time to Google “lacy rash.”

Heh, heh, heh. Uh, yeah.

I worked in a preschool for three years, so when I saw Fifth Disease on the list, I knew immediately that was probably what we had on our hands. (ok, not exactly on our hands, says my daughter.) :-)

Dr. Green’s website explains it well.

“Most children who get fifth disease start to feel a little under the weather 4 to 14 days after they are exposed. Headaches, low-grade fevers, muscle aches, and tiredness are common. The symptoms are usually mild and last for about 2 or 3 days. It is before and during this period that the children are contagious.

This is followed by about a week during which most children are free of symptoms. After this, the telltale rash appears. Because there is a long period between the first phase and the rash, most people don't suspect the link between the two phases.

The rash phase of the illness typically goes through three stages. The first stage is the bright red rash on the cheeks that gives rise to the name “slap cheek.” It is most pronounced when children go from a cool environment into a warm one. The second stage of the rash begins 1 to 4 days later, with the appearance of a less intense rash on the trunk, buttocks, and limbs. The rash usually spreads in a downward direction but does not reach the palms or soles. Toward the end of this stage, there is a blotchy clearing of the rash, leaving a lacy pattern.”

I never noticed any red cheeks, probably because there is no such thing as a cool environment in June in Texas.

I know I shouldn’t feel bad (but I do) and, fortunately, it is nothing serious, but I called the other girls’ parents and let them know … just in case.

And supposedly it doesn’t usually itch, but let’s just say she’s been very grateful for the hydrocortizone. =)


  1. Oh no! I've never heard of this before! I'm so sorry! I hope she feels less itchy soon!

  2. I'm itchy just reading. Thanks.


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