Little Bean has Slapped Cheek!

DSC07059 And no, I didn’t do it! For the last couple of days my post-birthday princess hasn’t really been herself, she has been very quiet and subdued. I mentioned it to her key worker at pre-school who said that chicken pox was doing the rounds so it was possible that she had the onset of that as they can be quiet when they are coming down with it. I have been checking her at regular intervals for any sign of spots but the only noticeable thing was a redness on her cheeks right below her eyes. I kept asking her if she was tired or hot but she said no, she just felt ‘a bit poorly’.
Then this morning when she woke up, she looked like she’d had a bad allergic reaction to something as her face was angry red and puffy so I took her to the Doctors. (I took this picture tonight when it was much better though still a bit puffy). They said straight away that she has “Slapped Cheek” and not to worry as it doesn’t really do much other than make her feel a bit pants for a few days and that now that the redness has come out, she is no longer contagious.
Little Bean seemed quite happy enough in herself so I continued with my plans to take her to my Auntie’s house for the morning and she had a great time, on the drive home she was regaling me with tales of her morning and the game she had played with Auntie B. We had some lunch and she took herself off to bed for her afternoon nap and fell straight to sleep without any fuss. After about an hour I woke her up to see if she wanted to go and play at her friend’s house who lives a couple of doors away (she had knocked for her whilst Little Bean was sleeping). She excitedly said “yes please” and then immediately her eyes rolled in her head and she started to drift off to sleep. A few seconds later she climbed out of bed and sat on my knee but didn’t look herself. I asked her again if she wanted to play with her friend or go back to bed, and to my surprise she climbed straight back into bed and went back to sleep. That’s when I knew that she wasn’t right as she would never pass up the opportunity to play with her friends.
When she finally woke 45 minutes later, she was very teary and clingy, poor baby girl!
I had never heard of Slapped Cheek before today and so when I was told there was nothing to worry about, I didn’t! Well that is until someone mentioned that it could be harmless to pregnant women as it can harm their unborn baby. My mind raced immediately to one of my best friends, Karin Joyce over at Cafebebe as we spend loads of time with her and her daughter Little Miss, who also attends the same pre-School as Little Bean. And my Cousin C who has been to our house recently and so I had to make the phone call and tell them the news that they needed to get checked out. Obviously I know that we haven’t been trying to pass on the virus on purpose but it still made me feel bad to think that their unborn babies could be at risk. I really hope that they will both be okay.
Slapped Cheek Facts

  • It is a common childhood viral infection, though it can affect adults too.
  • Slapped cheek syndrome is caused by a virus called Parvovirus B19
  • Also known as Fifth Disease or erythema infectiosum
  • Symptoms are often mild and similar to a cold or sometimes has no symptoms at all
  • 50-80% of all adults will have been infected by it, once you have had it you will have life-long immunity to it
  • Usually affects children aged 3-15 years
  • Usually develops in later Winter or early Spring
  • It is highly contagious and spreads through airborne particles rather like the cold and flu

At-risk Groups

  • People with certain blood disorders – such as sickle cell anaemia where the blood doesn’t contain enough healthy red blood cells.
  • Pregnant women without immunity – can increase the risk of miscarriage because the infection can cause serious anaemic to the unborn child
  • People with a weakened immune system – people who are receiving a treatment such as chemotherapy or who have a condition such as HIV.


  • In children – excellent, symptoms usually pass within 4-5 weeks and serious complications are very rare.
  • ‘At risk’ – good if recognised and treated promptly
  • People with blood disorders – usually will require a blood transfusion
  • Pregnant women with a potential risk of having a miscarriage may require hospitalisation so that their unborn babies can received a blood transfusion
  • People with weakened immune system – usually treated with an injection of antibodies that have been donated by a person who has immunity to the infection

Information sourced from NHS.UK
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8 thoughts on “Little Bean has Slapped Cheek!”

  1. I really appreciate you ringing to let us know. It’s just one of those freak things & hopefully will turn out to be nothing.
    What does bother me, however, is that the medical establishment doesn’t seem to be bothered about the risk to my baby. Seems like they should have asked you if you’d been around any pregnant women so we could be advised. It’s a bit unsettling which maybe I should take as comfort that I shouldn’t worry but it’s quite hard to feel calm about the unknown. Better education/support from medical professionals might be helpful.
    We love you all & hope Little Bean is back to feeling herself too. We know how rubbish she’s felt the last few days. Have a good weekend.

    • It was the most horrible phone call I’ve had to make, I hate giving bad news.
      I have to say that I’m really surprised that they didn’t ask me if I’d been in close contact with any pregnant women either, its not good enough to assume that ‘most’ adults will have already had it.

  2. A little bit of extra info (I was called in by Juliette’s teacher when heavily pregnant with Pierre to warn me that one of the kids in her class had it). I did a quick bit of googling and it’s only apparently potentially harmful to pregnant women in the first trimester, and even then only if they’ve never come into contact with the virus at any point in their lives which is quiite unlikely. Not trying to make light of it, just trying to reassure you a bit ! Anyone pregnant you’ve come into contact with, especially in the early stages, should mention it at their next healthcheck but try not to worry too much. Hugs all round xx

    • Thank you for trying to allay my fears, unfortunately the two people I had come into contact with are 13 and 14 weeks pregnant or thereabouts and so that was my worry. They have both contacted their midwives and so for now I shall keep my fingers crossed. Thank you xxx

  3. My daughter caught this when I was 8 weeks pregnant, she got over it in a week or so, however 4 weeks later I miscarried, it was only a few years later I found out that being in close proximity to someone that has it, when pregnant can lead to miscarriage. Hope ur little one gets better soon xxx

    • I had vaguely heard about it last year but then I had forgotten about it until the Doctor diagnosed. Its just so horrible that you don’t know they’ve had it for a few weeks until the redness comes out by which time you could have spent time with any number of pregnant women. I shall head over to read your post, thank you for commenting x

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