Hand, foot and mouth disease is a common viral infection that’s mainly reported in young children.
The disease is contagious, and it can affect adults or older children – albeit much less common.
Schools have been reporting the virus across the UK, including in Somerset, Gloucester and Manchester.
Parents have been urged to watch out for signs of the virus, and to keep their children at home if they become infected.
Janine Parry, Paediatric Nurse Practitioner from the Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust said: “We’ve noticed an increase in the number of children coming to our clinics with cases of hand, foot and mouth over the past couple of weeks.
“Hand, foot and mouth is a common viral infection in children under 10, which is usually mild and clears up on its own within a week to 10 days.
“The best advice is to keep your child at home and hydrated until they’re feeling better. Soft foods and paracetamol can also help if your child has a sore mouth and throat.
“If the symptoms don’t improve after a week to 10 days you should seek appropriate medical advice.
“You should also seek advice if your child shows signs of dehydration, has fits, a very high temperature, is unusually tired or unrousable, or if their skin becomes painful, red, swollen or hot to touch,” she told the Manchester Evening News.
The earliest symptoms of hand, foot and mouth disease include having a sore throat, a high fever, and not wanting to eat, said the NHS.
After a few days, patients usually develop painful mouth ulcers that make it difficult to eat or drink.
Elsewhere on the body, red spots can appear on the hands and feet. They may also develop into painful blisters.
The spots, which could turn into a rash, could also appear on the knees, elbows, buttocks or genitals.
The symptoms are usually similar in both children and adults, but are more severe in older people.
If you become infected with foot, hand and mouth disease, the best thing to do is to let the infection run its course.
There’s currently no treatment for the condition, so medicines work to reduce symptoms.
Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, and avoid drinking acidic fruit juices.
Painkillers, including paracetamol and ibuprofenits may help to ease a sore mouth or throat, added the NHS.
If you’re worried about the signs and symptoms of the disease, it’s best to speak to a pharmacist.
But, you should see a doctor if the symptoms don’t improve within 10 days, or if you’re pregnant.