Gloves and Socks Syndrome Defined

What is Gloves And Socks Syndrome?

Dr. Greene’s Answer:

This condition was unheard of until 1990 when Harms et al. first reported it in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. They described five young Swiss adults who had swelling of the hands and feet with borders at the wrists and ankles. Some of these people also had involvement of the lips or mouth. Some had a fever. All of them broke out in a rash. The authors called it Papular-Purpuric (for the rash) Gloves and Socks Syndrome, or PPGSS. They felt that this peculiar set of symptoms was the result of a virus (I should mention that all of the subjects had been taking medications, so an allergic reaction was also considered).

After this initial paper, sporadic cases began to appear in the dermatology literature. All the cases involved people between 16 and 36 years old. All of them occurred between April and September (I would suspect that in the Southern Hemisphere they would appear in the local spring and summer). The swelling and rash always lasted longer than one week, but usually resolved by two weeks. Sometimes peeling of the hands and feet followed the resolution of the swelling. Sometimes the patients became fatigued for 4-6 weeks following the resolution of other symptoms.

In 1993, reports of Gloves and Socks Syndrome began to appear in the pediatric literature, beginning with the story of a 9-year-old girl from Iowa. By this time evidence was beginning to mount for at least one virus that might cause the syndrome — parvovirus B19. Parvovirus B19 is the same virus responsible for erythema infectiosum (more commonly known as Slap Cheek or Fifth Disease).

In otherwise healthy people, it seems to be a benign, self-limited disease. However, parvovirus B19 (whether Gloves and Socks Syndrome or Slap Cheek) can cause significant short-term anemia. This is important for people who already have anemia for some other reason and for pregnant women.

Dr. Alan Greene

As a father of four himself, Dr. Greene has devoted himself to freely giving real answers to parents' real questions -- from questions about those all too common childhood conditions to those that address the most recent and rare pediatric illnesses. His answers combine cutting edge science, practical wisdom, warm empathy, and a deep respect for parents, children, and the environment. He is also an electrifying public speaker, and has personally touched many during his talks in North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

Dr. Greene is a graduate of Princeton University and the University of California at San Francisco. Upon completion of his pediatric residency program at Children's Hospital Medical Center of Northern California he served as Chief Resident. He entered primary care pediatrics in January 1993.

Dr. Greene is the Past President of The Organic Center and on the Board of Directors of Healthy Child Healthy World. He is a founding partner of the Collaborative on Health and the Environment. He also consults for the Environmental Working Group.

In 1995, he launched, cited by the AMA as “the pioneer physician Web site” on the Internet. His award-winning site has received over 80 million Unique Users from parents, concerned family members, students, and healthcare professionals. In addition to being the founder of, he is the Medical Director for HealthTap.

In 2010 Dr. Greene founded the WhiteOut Movement to change how babies in the United States are fed. In 2012 he founded TICC TOCC - Transitioning Immediate Cord Clamping To Optimal Cord Clamping. He is also the founder of KidGlyphs, a free iPhone app that provides a tool for young children to express themselves beyond their verbal skills while teaching them important language skills.

Dr. Greene is the Founding President of the Society for Participatory Medicine and has served as both President and Board Chair of Hi-Ethics (Health Internet Ethics. He is on the Board of Directors for Healthy Child Healthy World, The Lunchbox Project, and The Society for Participatory Medicine. He has also served as an advisor to URAC for both their inaugural and their updated health web site accreditation program. He is a founding member of the e-Patient Scholars Working Group, and a founding board member of the Center for Information Therapy.

Dr. Greene is a regular columnist for Parenting Magazine. He is also the Pediatric Expert for The People’s Pharmacy (as heard on NPR) and Healing Quest (seen on PBS stations). He was the original Pediatric Expert for both Yahoo! and iVillage.

Dr. Greene is the author of Feeding Baby Green (Wiley, 2009), Raising Baby Green (Wiley, 2007), From First Kicks to First Steps (McGraw-Hill, 2004), The Parent's Complete Guide to Ear Infections (People's Medical Society, 1997), and a co-author of The A.D.A.M. Illustrated Family Health Guide (A.D.A.M., Inc., 2004). He is the medical expert for three additional books, The Parent's Soup A-to-Z Guide to Your New Baby, (Contemporary Books, 1998) The Parent's Soup A-to-Z Guide to Your Toddler, (Contemporary Books, 1999), and The Mother of All Baby Books, (Hungry Minds, Inc., 2002).

Dr. Greene is a frequent keynote speaker at important events such as Health 2.0 2011 held in San Diego, CA, IFOAM 2008 (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements), held in Modena Italy, the first European Internet health conference, held in Maastricht, the first International eHealth Association Conference, held in Jeddah, and the largest e-Healthcare World Conference, held in Las Vegas, and the first Green Power Baby Shower, held in Hollywood. Dr. Greene also appears frequently on TV, radio, websites, and in newspapers and magazines around the world, including such venues as the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, Fox and Friends, The Dr. Oz Show, CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC network news, NPR, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Time Magazine, Parade, Parenting, Child, Baby Talk, Working Mother, Better Home's & Gardens, and the Reader's Digest.

Dr. Greene loves to think about challenging ideas, he enjoys being where nothing manmade can be seen, and he wears green socks.

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