Mumps is a viral infection that primarily affects the salivary glands(glands which produce saliva) which are located near your ear. It is a contagious disease that spreads from person to person through saliva, nasal secretions, and close personal contact.
Who is affected?
Most cases of mumps occur in young adults who have not received MMR vaccine as a part of the vaccination schedule in their childhood or didn’t have mumps as a child. Once exposed to mumps virus through infection or vaccination, there is lifelong immunity for any further infection.
Symptoms appear 2-3 weeks after exposure to the virus. The primary sign of mumps is swollen salivary glands that cause puffy cheeks. Other signs and symptoms may include:
- Pain and swelling in the salivary glands on one or both sides of your face
- Pain while chewing or swallowing
- High grade fever
- Muscle aches
- Weakness and fatigue
- Loss of appetite
Mumps is caused by a virus hence antibiotics are ineffective however symptomatic treatment is advised. Follow these tips-
- Rest when you feel weak or tired.
- You can take OTC pain relievers, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, to bring down your fever.
- Soothe swollen glands by applying ice packs.
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Eat semi-solid diet of soup, yogurt, and other foods that aren’t hard to chew (chewing may be painful when your glands are swollen).
- Avoid foods and beverages that are acidic that may cause more pain in your salivary glands.
You may be advised to return to work/school in seven days after the diagnosis as it is no longer contagious.
Complication of mumps is rare but serious if left untreated.
- Inflammation of the testicles(Orchitis) in boys may be due to mumps.
- Females infected with mumps may have swelling of the ovaries. The inflammation can be painful but doesn’t harm a woman’s eggs. However, if a woman contracts mumps during pregnancy, there is a higher-than-normal risk of experiencing a miscarriage.
- Meningitis(inflammation of the brain lining), Encephalitis(inflammation of the brain).
- Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
Vaccination for mumps
Vaccination can prevent mumps. Most children receive a vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) at the same time. The first MMR shot is generally given between the ages of 9 months at a routine child visit. A second vaccination is given between 15-18 months.
Consult your doctor about an immunization schedule for you and your children.
-Dr Prerna Gaur
Image Credits: Internet