AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Children are at the highest risk of catching a virus that's making its way through the panhandle region.
Norovirus is what you'd think of as a typical stomach bug. The symptoms are similar: nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps.
The virus is common year round, but new strands are now in existence, and doctors have seen a spike in cases recently in Amarillo.
"The symptoms usually start 12-48 hours after you're infected with it," said Dr. Roger Smalligan, a Texas Tech physician. "That's the bad news. The good news is it only lasts about one to three days."
Dr. Mariada George, a pediatrician, said last week several families came to her practice infected with the virus.
"They're usually coming in complaining of throwing up and diarrhea. sometimes fever," said George. "They usually look a little droopy."
Norovirus is extremely contagious, and spreads rapidly from person to person and from contaminated food, water or every day objects.
"It's really easy to pass around families," said George. " So one kid gets it, the other kid gets it, mom gets it."
Most people will recover in few days, but some cases could last much longer.
"Dehydration is what's going to put them in the hospital," said George. "Usually it's the smaller kids that are more at risk because they have less body.
But once in a while, an older kid will get just so sick that they can't tolerate it either."
To check for symptoms of dehydration, George said look to see if the inside of your mouth is dry.
Also, push down on your skin or finger nail. If the color does not return in a few seconds, you could be dehydrated.
The best precaution you can take is to wash your hands frequently and disinfect any potentially contaminated objects.