“I couldn’t even close my fist,” Metro mom, daughters battle contagious Fifth Disease

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EDMOND, Okla. - Heather Holeman is a full-time mom and full-time reporter for NewsChannel 4.

However, this supermom is fighting one superbug with her daughters.

"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,” Heather said.

Heather came down with Fifth Disease, a contagious virus.

"It started with the joint swelling and then hives everywhere," she said.

The virus comes with an itchy rash and, unfortunately in Heather's case, passed down to her daughters.

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

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

Fifth disease is non-life threatening and is more common in children than adults.

The virus also comes with a "slapped cheek" appearance, as red cheeks are a signature sign of the virus in the beginning stages.

It starts off similar to a cold, everything from your typical fever, runny nose, and headache. This stage is when someone is 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,” said Pediatrician Jessica Wallenmeyer with Edmond Pediatrics.

Dr. Wallenmeyer said so far this year she's seen about 15 to 20 cases.

"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," Wallenmeyer said.

With an antihistamine, anti-itch cream, and patience, the disease will take its course and eventually clear up on its own.

However, the virus can come and go for several weeks before it finally ends, which Heather knows all too well.

She and her daughters are now on round two. "We wish that it would just be gone."

Doctors say the best prevention is washing your hands with soap and water, covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and staying home when you are sick.

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