What’s the weird rash going around Polk County schools?

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Polk County parents are reporting a rash of rashes making its way through some schools. With measles a hot topic across the country, the bumps have some parents concerned. 

A spokesperson for Polk County Schools told News Channel 8 Thursday the district was aware of some rashes being reported but there was no concern of an outbreak. 

School officials say health officials told them, “the health department routinely monitors for rash illnesses across the county. We are also prompt to investigate outbreaks that are reported. The health department is not investigating any active outbreaks at this time.”

Megan Lambert’s son Chris woke up last Thursday covered from head to toe in mysterious red bumps. She said the third grader couldn’t stop scratching his burning skin. 

“It was all on my head, all the way down to my waist,” the boy explained. 

At first, Lambert feared measles, even though her son is vaccinated. 

“I wanted answers,” she said. “I wanted to know what it was.” 

After two trips to the doctor, they had a diagnosis…fifth disease. 

You may not have heard of it, but Dr. Richard Frates at Lakeland’s Watson Clinic said roughly 50 percent of people have had the viral disease at some point. He says he’s seen a few cases in his office the last few weeks. 

Frates explained there’s no vaccine for fifth disease because, unlike measles, it is relatively mild and doesn’t cause other dangerous complications. However, fifth disease is contagious before a trace of the rash even breaks out, meaning it’s easy for kids and families to be exposed without realizing. 

Lambert said a number of her friends’ kids have broken out in similar rashes, diagnosed as fifth disease. 

A week later, Chris said he’s almost feeling good as new except for sensitivity to light and heat. His mom just hopes now her older son isn’t her second kid to come down with the fifth. 

Because fifth disease is viral, there’s not much parents can do besides let kids rest up and let the virus run its course. 

However, it can be problematic for pregnant women so if you experience the symptoms, you should give your doctor a call. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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