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Woman Passed Painful Virus To Her Daughters - Speaks Out About Contagious Disease

One mom contracted a painful childhood disease as an adult and didn't even realize she had it. She soon passed it on to her two daughters, and as the three of them suffered, she realized something was wrong. The mom, a news reporter, wanted to spread the word about this one-time common illness that's making the rounds again.

Parvovirus is a highly contagious disease that commonly affects children, though according to the Mayo Clinic, it's usually mild. It's also known as 'fifth disease' because throughout history it was one of the five most common childhood illnesses. Some call it 'slapped cheek disease' because of the characteristic red rash that develops.

Fifth disease can be serious, it seems, particularly in pregnant woman. Catching it can endanger the fetus. It can also compromise the immune system of people who have certain types of anemia. For the most part, it's not life threatening; it's just an extremely uncomfortable illness to endure.

Oklahoma's KFOR reporter Heather Holeman had a very important, personal story to report after she and her daughters came down with fifth disease.

"I couldn't even close my fist. I couldn't make a fist because my fingers were so swollen, along with my wrist, my knees and ankles. So painful,” she explained for the camera. "It started with the joint swelling and then hives everywhere."

"It's just itchy, it's like you get a red ant bite all over your body,” said Heather's daughter, Kaylan.

“It was the itchiest day of my life," said her younger daughter, Everly.

Parvovirus usually looks like a cold when first contracted. Sufferers may get a runny nose, fever and headache. At this point, it's at its most contagious.

“It’s mostly respiratory secretion, in the way that's it passed, but certainly hand to mouth or sneezing, coughing that kind of thing,” explains Dr. Jessica Wallenmeyer, a pediatrician with Edmond Pediatrics.

As time goes on, the signature rash may begin to spread all over the sufferer's body, and it could also lead to swelling and joint pain. It may take several weeks before it finally subsides.

Dr. Wallenmeyer warns that spring and summer are prime times to catch the virus. "It’s typically an early spring or summertime virus. And we sometimes see every third year or so there might be more of an epidemic and this seems to be a very bad outbreak this season," she explains.

Holeman and her daughters are done with it. They're on round two of treatments and are just looking forward to it ending. "We wish that it would just be gone."

Parvovirus is mainly treated with antihistamines and anti-itch creams. All doctors can do is try to make sufferers more comfortable through the pain; unlike with bacterial infections, there are no pills to treat a virus.

If you want to avoid parvovirus, doctors say the best thing you can do to protect yourself is to wash your hands frequently. People covering their mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing can also help prevent the spread. The most courteous thing you can do if you do get sick is to just stay home.

Source: Independent Journal Review
Photo: Heather Holeman/Facebook

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