By Lindy Thackston
INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 14, 2014) -- Pediatricians say a highly-contagious virus is spreading like wildfire through central Indiana kids.
Hand, foot and mouth disease is common this time of year, but doctors say they've been swamped this week and want to warn parents it's making the rounds.
Children six months to 5 years old are at the highest risk, says St. Vincent pediatrician Brian Aguilar.
It usually starts with a fever before blisters appear in the mouth and a rash develops on the hands and feet. But this year, Aguilar says he's seeing several kids without fevers and just suffering from blisters and a rash.
It typically lasts three to five days, but the rash can last longer.
It's very contagious and easily spreads through coughing, sneezing, changing diapers and toys.
Westfield mom Dena Parker has her 2-year-old daughter home from daycare this week after she was diagnosed with hand, foot and mouth disease.
"If you work full-time and your husband works full-time and daycare is where your child has to go, you're more than likely going to be affected with hand, foot and mouth sometime in the course of being at daycare," said Powell. "And I spoke to a friend who is a stay-at-home mom and her son had it a couple of weeks ago and he does not attend daycare."
Aguilar says while the virus is commonly spread at daycare, other kids are at risk too, especially at playgrounds and pools.
"The most important thing in hand, foot and mouth disease prevention is washing hands," said Aguilar. "The time that you should call your doctor is if your child can't eat or drink well."
"Everybody can get the virus, even adults, but we won't show the symptoms, so everybody needs to practice good hand hygiene."
There is no vaccine to prevent hand, foot and mouth disease.
There is no specific treatment, but if the sores are preventing the child from eating and drinking, medicine can be prescribed. If your child is eating and drinking with no problem, Aguilar says Tylenol and ibuprofen can be used.
Hand, foot and mouth disease is a threat through the fall season.
Aguilar also wants to point out that hand, foot and mouth disease has nothing to do with the hoof and mouth disease that affects animals.