Emergency advice

Slapped cheek:

  1. Wash hands with soap and water.
  2. Get them to rest and drink lots of fluids.
  3. Give them the recommended dose of paracetamol if they have a high temperature.
  4. Do not give aspirin to anyone under 16.
  5. If symptoms continue or get worse, seek medical advice. 

What is slapped cheek?

Slapped cheek is a viral infection that is common in children but usually goes away within three weeks without treatment. It is rare in adults, but it can be more serious.  

Signs and symptoms

The first signs may be:

  • a high temperature
  • a runny nose and sore throat
  • a headache.

After one to three days:

  • a bright red rash may appear on both cheeks
  • a light-pink rash may appear over the body.

What to do

  1. To prevent the virus spreading, wash your hands with soap and water and use tissues when you cough or sneeze.  

  2. Rest and drink lots of fluids to keep hydrated.

  3. If the person is uncomfortable, give them the recommended does of paracetamol or ibuprofen if they are allowed to take it; you do not need to give medicines just to treat a fever if the person is not in discomfort.  Follow the advice on the medicine packet or seek advice from a pharmacist.

    • Do not give aspirin to anyone under the age of 16 
  4. If the symptoms continue or get worse, seek medical advice.  

  5. There is no need for the child to stay off school or nursery but make sure you inform the teacher; once the rash has appeared they are no longer infectious.

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St John Ambulance volunteers providing support