Fifth disease is an illness caused by the parvovirus B19. The cold-like symptoms are usually self limited and are commonly followed by a rash. Natural remedies for fifth disease are used to support the immune system and relieve discomfort of common symptoms. Home treatments include apple cider vinegar, vitamin C and Epsom salt baths.
Fifth disease is the common name for erythema infectiosum. It is also referred to as the “slapped cheek” disease since the rash that accompanies the disease often affects the cheeks of the face and resembles slap marks.
Symptoms of fifth disease typically begin 4-14 days after exposure to the parvovirus B19. At first fifth disease appears to be “just a cold.” Fever, runny nose, malaise, sore throat, nausea and headache are common. A week or so after the initial cold like symptoms begin, a rash can appear on the face. Within a few days, a lace like rash may appear on other parts of the body. The rash may cause itching or pain. Rashes can come and go for up to 2-3 weeks. Once the rash appears, a person is usually no longer contagious. A more serious complication of fifth disease is joint pain or anemia.
Fifth disease is common among children. Many adults have had fifth disease as a child and are immune to it. Not everyone manifests all of the symptoms; some may have no symptoms at all. The disease is most common among children ages 3-13.
The following remedies will provide comfort for symptoms and help to equip the immune system to fight the virus:
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar, though acidic in nature, actually helps to alkalize the body. When in a more acidic state the body does not fight sickness well and pain is more noticeable.
A great apple cider vinegar tonic can be made to help with fever, sore throat, and joint pain.
6 ounces hot water
1 T. raw apple cider vinegar
1 T. raw honey
This tonic is especially helpful first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
2. Baking Soda Bath
Baking soda baths are soothing for all sorts of sicknesses. During the rash phase of fifth disease, a baking soda bath can relieve itching and pain that may accompany the rash. A cup of baking soda is added to a warm bath.
3. Epsom Salt Bath
Epsom salt baths provide the body with extra magnesium, which relaxes the body. Espom salt baths are commonly used to relieve joint pain of a different types. If joint pain is experienced with fifth disease, Epsom salt baths may be especially welcome. 1 cup of Epsom salt is added to a warm bath.
4. Astragalus Root
Astragalus root is used as a food in some cultures. Astragalus root capsules can be used during illness to support the immune system. Astragalus root can also be added to soups or rice dishes to gain the benefit of Astragalus root.
5. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a needed antioxidant that has antiviral properties.1 Sodium ascorbate is the easiest form on the digestive system. During illness, it is not uncommon to take vitamin C by the gram.
6. Vitamin D
If the weather allows, some modest amounts of sunshine will give the body the opportunity to make vitamin D. If weather does not permit, a vitamin D supplement can be used instead for immune support.
Zinc is another needed vitamin for immune function. Zinc supplements or zinc throat lozenges can supply needed zinc to the body.
8. Dietary Considerations
Providing the body with high quality nutrients will help it to cope with sickness and heal more efficiently. Fruits and vegetables are wonderful foods when the body is fighting a virus.
Dairy products tend to increase mucous production and should be avoided, especially if congestion is a bothersome symptom.
Extra virgin coconut oil is a powerful antiviral food. Including it in the diet, or even having some right off the spoon is a great way to “let food be your medicine.”
Sugars are best avoided or kept to a minimum during the course of a virus. Sugars tend to promote inflammation, which will make pain worse, especially if joint pain accompanies fifth disease.
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