M.S. asks from Mansfield, TX on June 28, 2010
Any Adult Ever Gotten Fifth Disease? Any Treament Ideas?
Thanks to the internet, I have become pretty good and self-diagnosis. Well, I'm afraid I may have come down with Fifth Disease. After 3 days of low grade fever, headache, and body aches, I was fine for a day and then started itching on my back. Then it moved to my stomach and now it's my arms. I have a lacy looking rash on my stomach and there's some redness on my back and arms. Problem is, I'm miserable. I've tried Benadryl (oral and cream) and that didn't stop the itching. Hydrocortisone works for about an hour and then it stops working. Now the itching has given way to a prickly tingling feeling in my arms and swollen, stiff hands and joints. Anyone have experience with this (I've read it's a little different in adults than in children). Any ideas on dealing with the discomfort? Doctor visit is out of the question for a while. Hubby doesn't have a job and my work won't pick up our insurance for a little while still. I really need some ideas. I was up until 3:30 am last night because the itching and burning sensation kept disturbing me (and that was after 2 doses of Benadryl!).
N.H. answers from Dallas on June 29, 2010
Hi M.. I have had Fifth's Disease. The joint pain was very uncomfortable. The doctor put me on some kind of arthritis medication (same one my grandmother was on,hehe) . More importantly though, I am not sure you should be going to work if you are contagious. I can't remember how long you are contagious, but when you are, you are VERY contagious and fifth's disease is very dangerous to pregnant women. Infact, when I was diagnosed my doctor told me I should notify any pregnant women I'd been in contact with.
S.H. answers from Dallas on June 29, 2010
So weird I've never heard of anyone having this and the doc says my nephew has it today! I read that you can take some pain meds for the joint pain, but my nephews does not itch (though I read some of them can?). Sorry you're having to deal with this! Other things have the same sorts of symptoms... have you had all of your vaccinations?? If not, this is in the same family as scarlet fever, measles, mumps...
D.W. answers from Gainesville on June 28, 2010
I agree with Dana. There are lots of clinics that offer sliding scale or even your county health department. Walk-in clinics usually will charge around $100. If you aren't getting relief from over the counter remedies it's time to find out what is really going on.
Also, if it does turn out to be Fifths Disease if there is anyone around you that is pregnant they need to be tested immediately. The effects to the unborn fetus can be devastating.
D.W. answers from Indianapolis on June 28, 2010
As much as the internet can be a great source of information, it can also be a really great source of misinformation. Self-diagnosis is really scary, and many conditions are recurrent in many different diseases.
I know you say that you can't see a doctor. Have you looked into any clinics that are government subsidized and offer sliding scales for people based upon what you can afford?
My concern is that it's something much more serious than 5th Disease. Waiting may only make the condition worse and harder to treat. Even most minute clinics will see you for $65. I know that's a lot when there's not income coming in, I was laid off last year, and I know the concerns. But, I also know that a little "unconcerning" node on my collarbone has cost insurance almost $400K to treat my slow growing cancer.
Good luck. I hope you are well and are simply reacting to a virus that needs time to run its course.
J.W. answers from Dallas on June 28, 2010
I had this last year. The rash started about a week after mild flew symptoms. I had swollen and painful hands and feet. I don't recall burning and itching. The swollen, painful joints lasted for a few weeks. It all did eventually go away. I did go to the doctor, but there wasn't much they could do since it was viral. You might try Sarna lotion for the itching. That worked well for me in the past with severe itching. This usually hits adults a lot harder than it does kids.
H.T. answers from Hartford on June 28, 2010
I had fifths disease, but I never noticed any rash, I woke up one day and I couldn't stand my ankles were very swollen and my fingers looked like sausages, every joint was swollen and very sore. I thought that I was dying. I was in such severe pain that they put me on an anti inflammatory (I cannot remember which one but it was a prescription) and vicodin. I cannot really give you much advise if you cannot see a doctor, they need to do blood tests to confirm fifths. I really felt awful for well over a month. I hope it all works out for you.