Fifth Disease and Possible Pregnant Sister

Updated on June 18, 2013
M.2. asks from Downers Grove, IL
11 answers

I need some advice! Both of my daughters' were just I need some advice! Both of my daughters' were just diagnosed with fifths disease but are no longer contagious since the rash has appeared. My older daughter showed signs of a rash forming on her cheeks yesterday morning when she woke up and my younger daughter woke up this morning with the rash in various areas of her body. We went to the doctor this afternoon and was told that fifth disease is really only concerning for a pregnant woman in her first trimester so here's my dilemma -

My sister and her husband just started trying to conceive this past month and we were all together yesterday for Fathers Day. Naturally they do not know if they're pregnant yet and even if they did know they won't be telling anyone until they're three months (or so they've said). I'm a 'what if' person so I keep worrying 'what if' she is newly pregnant and the fact that she was around my daughters yesterday something very bad could happen to her baby? I'd feel just awful! Do I risk telling her and causing her to panic or just keep it to myself since we don't even know yet if she's pregnant? My concern with not telling her is if she is pregnant and knows it shouldn't she let her OB know that she was exposed?

I'd really appreciate any and all advice!

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answers from Tampa on

I know a lady who did miscarry because her sister didn't tell her that her kids exposed her. Yea you can't do anything but at least she would have a heads up.

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answers from Wichita on

I could really go either way with this advice, but here's what I'm going to say.

To my knowledge, even if she is newly pregnant, I do not believe that there is anything that a doctor could do to change the exposure. Meaning nothing can be done about it now regardless of whether or not they are expecting. Also, about 50% of pregnant women are already immune to the virus that causes Fifths. With this in mind, I would probably just keep quiet about it. I'm all for telling the truth, but in this case I think you would be telling to assuage your guilt (which this is NOT your fault! Stuff happens! Fifths is very common! You don't know you have it until it's too late). By easing your misplaced guilt, you would probably be causing more stress to the potentially expecting mom and that wouldn't help anyone. I say to keep quiet for now and see what happens!

ADD: Also from what I'm seeing from the CDC once the rash appears, the likelihood of passing on the virus that causes Fifths is very very low. Even then, it is typically transferred through respiratory secretions.

If this was something else that could be treated with an early heads up, then I would definitely tell, but since it cannot, I would still say to save your sister the stress. Maybe check back and see in a month how things are going with them TTC. They may not have conceived right away, and you won't have any worries. :)

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answers from Albuquerque on

Please tell her... if only to say to say that your kids have Fifths, you don't think they were contagious, but if she might be pregnant you wanted her to know.

I caught Fifths as an adult and it was not fun. I wasn't pregnant, but I got super sick (it can cause arthritis-like symptoms in adults). So I'm extra cautious about Fifths!

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answers from Minneapolis on

I would tell her so that you can rest easy and not carry this worry around with you. My daughters go to a music teacher who was pregnant and I found out that my daughters had Fifth's Disease. I told her that she may have been exposed and she thanked me profusely for being responsible about it because she had previously lost a pregnancy and was already a high risk situation this second time around. She was able to take measures to get her blood tested and we found out that she was not immune so we stayed away for a couple of weeks until we were sure that our whole family was past it. It made us all feel better.

Chances are VERY good that NOTHING will come of your concern but if you were the one possibly pregnant, wouldn't you want your sister to tell you?

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answers from Dallas on

I'm definitely with Amber on this one. There's nothing she can do to avoid getting sick from it at this point, and there's a very good chance that it won't harm her (if she's not pregnant, doesn't catch it, or already immune). Frankly, the worry is more likely to cause a problem.

But, whenever your sister does share happy news, you may want to say something like 'hey, I recently learned about this disease that almost all children get at some point and is fairly mild except that it can cause pregnant women to miscarry. you may want to find out if you've already had it'. Finding out won't be relevant if she's not frequently around children, but if she is, it can help her make decisions or prevent worry. I'm a teacher, so I did find out that I have antibodies for it, and that helped me decide NOT to take off some time when there was an outbreak of 5ths and my school.

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answers from San Francisco on

I just read up on it and it says that people who have it are usually not contagious once they get the rash. The contagious period is when they have just cold-like symptoms.

It also said that it is usually not serious in pregnant women. In only about 5% of the cases in pregnant women does it cause problems.

It also said that there is a blood test that can tell if you are immune to it, not immune or have been recently infected. If you're worried, tell your sis and have her get the blood test, but again it also says that pregnant women usually get a very mild case and their babies suffer no complications whatsoever in most cases.

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answers from Phoenix on

Tell her! Keeping it to yourself will only cause you worry and guilt. Give her the information, let her know that there is a risk if she's pregnant and allow her to talk to her doctor if she is pregnant.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Never heard of this disease. I would tell her that my daughters MIGHT have had it. She can either get checked or go with the might.

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answers from New York on

I think you should tell her. Chances are she will be fine, and why worry for nine months. I do believe you are contagious before the rash breaks out, which is why it is so difficult to protect yourself from these types of illnesses. You would pretty much have to live in a bubble, which is impossible to do. You did nothing wrong, you didn't intensionally expose your sister. I also believe if she is pregnant there is a blood test to detect immunity to Fifth's and there is also a tiny risk. I would rather know myself if it were me, and I don't think this is something you want to carry around with you. Good luck!!

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answers from San Antonio on

Just tell if she is pregnant she can go get a blood test to see if she has already had fifth disease.

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answers from Wausau on

Tell her. She needs to know just in case. Not telling her can create a delay in getting medical care if there is an issue.

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