Sixth disease: symptoms and contagiousness

Sixth disease is an exanthematous disease whose medical name is  critical exanthema,  caused by human Herpesvoirus type (HHV-6).

It affects children between 6 months and two years of age. It can rarely affect adults and in that case the symptoms are more important.

The incubation period (i.e. the time between infection and the manifestation of the disease) is variable and ranges from 5 to 15 days, during which no symptoms appear.

The first symptoms of the disease last on average 3-5 days and are represented by high fever (39-40°), irritability and sometimes even nasopharyngitis.

Subsequently, the typical rash appears and lasts 2-4 days. The rash usually occurs following a critical drop in fever.

The rash has a pink color that should not itch and appears first on the trunk and neck and then on the face, legs and arms.

The child is contagious during the acute phase of the disease . The virus is transmitted by saliva droplets and respiratory tracts.

The rash disappears within 1-3 days.

Being a pathology that does not give particular complications, there is no vaccine but the symptoms are treated, in particular the fever.

Possible complications to the respiratory system can be avoided with simple precautions such as avoiding exposure of the child to air currents.

Your pediatrician might recommend medications to lower your fever. In any case, hydration of the child is always important.

Kathryn Barlow is an OB/GYN doctor, which is the medical specialty that deals with the care of women's reproductive health, including pregnancy and childbirth.

Obstetricians provide care to women during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, while gynecologists focus on the health of the female reproductive system, including the ovaries, uterus, vagina, and breasts. OB/GYN doctors are trained to provide medical and surgical care for a wide range of conditions related to women's reproductive health.

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