AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Pediatricians are urging parents to look our for a common childhood virus.
In recent weeks, local pediatricians have seen a rise of Hand Foot and Mouth disease.
Although the disease is common, it's highly contagious and can be very painful.
The virus typically affects young children ages five and under but recent reports show the virus is making its way through colleges.
Pediatrician Amanda Griffin said this doesn't surprise her because of how contagious the infection is.
The virus spreads through physical contact or from contaminated surfaces.
Once exposed to the virus it usually takes three to six days for symptoms to show.
Much like the common cold, symptoms include fever, sore throat and runny nose but then tiny blisters start to show up either on the palms of the hands, feet or inside of the mouth.
"The blisters in the mouth can be the most painful," Griffin said. "It is really important to try and keep your child drinking it is okay to use pain medication such as Tylenol or ibuprofen for the pain to try to keep them drinking."
Griffin said the disease can take a toll on younger children, especially those who have blisters inside of their mouths.
The pain of the blisters can be so sever children may not eat or drink anything, putting them at risk for dehydration.
Griffin said the Hand Foot and Mouth virus usually runs it course in about a week.
She recommends being cleared by a doctor before sending a child back to school or day care because of how highly contagious the virus is.