This week, we start with a query about a reported epidemic of slapped cheek disease that is sweeping through the nurseries of Norfolk. The condition, characterised by fever and red cheeks, is also known as fifth disease because it was the last of five “red rash” childhood diseases to be defined after scarlet fever, measles, rubella, and roseola. What preventative measures can worried parents take and what are the alternative treatments if the child succumbs to the illness? According to one reader, the disease is caused by the parvovirus and in most cases, the symptoms are so mild, treatment is unnecessary. Another reader, whose 8-year-old son is just recovering from the disease, says that the illness usually runs its course without treatment and as it’s a viral disease, any antibiotics (natural or pharmaceutical) will not help. However, cooling aloe vera gel could provide external relief to the cheeks and any joint pain, which can occur, could be helped by taking feverfew or yarrow. It may be that children with immunity problems due to a food intolerance or allergy may be more susceptible to catching slapped cheek disease. It seems the infection is similar to eczema where the skin breaks out from within because of too much acid in the system. One reader who had this disease as an adult says Milk Thistle helped to alleviate her symptoms.