Contagious disease going around the Lowcountry

Fifth disease pops up at some area schools
Published: Jan. 23, 2013 at 12:04 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 23, 2013 at 12:07 AM EST
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - You may start out feeling like you have the flu but soon you may see an irritating rash that can last for about 23 weeks.

It's a rather common virus with an uncommon name. It's called Fifth disease or slapped cheek, a common viral rash that appears on the face.

But before the rash appears, it starts as a fever, runny nose and headache.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 20 percent of people will have no symptoms at all.

Dr. Benji Rodgers says Fifth disease is a  virus that affects more children than adults. Days after the initial rash forms on your face, you may notice a second rash pop up on the chest, back, arms or legs.

And the rash may linger for several weeks.

Dr. Rodgers says Fifth disease can easily spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and he says he sees more cases of it in late winter and early spring.

But you can reduce your chance of being infected or spreading it by washing your hands often, sneezing in your elbow and by not touching your eyes, mouth or nose.

According to the spokesperson for the Charleston County School District several cases have popped up at Pinckney Elementary School in Mount Pleasant.

But no word on any other cases in the district.

Dr. Rodgers says Fifth disease can cause problems for people  who have sickle cell disease and for pregnant women.

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