What Is Mumps?
a contagious disease caused by a virus that passes from one person to another
through saliva, nasal secretions, and close personal contact.
condition primarily affects the parotid glands. Parotid glands — also called salivary glands — are the organs
responsible for producing saliva. There are three sets of salivary glands on each
side of your face, located behind and below your ears. The hallmark symptom of
mumps is swelling of the salivary glands.
What Are the Symptoms of
mumps usually appear within two weeks of exposure to the virus. Flu-like
symptoms may be the first to appear, including:
A high fever
(up to 103 degrees Fahrenheit) and swelling of the salivary glands follow over
the next few days. The glands may not all swell at once. More commonly, they
swell and become painful periodically. You are most likely to pass the mumps
virus to another person from the time you come into contact with the virus to
when your parotid glands swell.
who contract mumps show symptoms of the virus. However, some people have no or
very few symptoms.
What Is the Treatment for
mumps is a virus, it doesn’t respond to antibiotics or other medications.
However, you can treat the symptoms to make yourself more comfortable while you’re
when you feel weak or tired.
over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, to bring
down your fever.
swollen glands by applying ice packs.
plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration due to fever.
a soft diet of soup, yogurt, and other foods that aren’t hard to chew (chewing
may be painful when your glands are swollen)
acidic foods and beverages that may cause more pain in your salivary glands.
usually return to work or school about one week after a doctor diagnoses your mumps,
if you feel up to it. By this point, you’re no longer contagious. Mumps usually
runs its course in a couple of weeks. Ten days into your illness, you should be
who get mumps can’t contract the disease a second time. Having the virus once
protects you against becoming infected again.
What Are the Complications Associated
from mumps are rare, but they can be serious if left untreated. Mumps mostly
affects the parotid glands. However, it can also cause inflammation in other
areas of the body, including the brain and reproductive organs.
an inflammation of the testicles that may be due to mumps. You can manage
orchitis pain by placing cold packs on the testicles several times a day. Your
doctor may recommend prescription-strength painkillers if necessary. In rare
cases, orchitis can cause sterility in males.
infected with mumps may experience 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, she has a higher-than-normal risk of suffering a
lead to meningitis or encephalitis, two potentially fatal conditions if left
untreated. Meningitis is
swelling of the membranes around your spinal cord and brain. Encephalitis is inflammation of
the brain itself. Contact your doctor if you experience seizures, loss of
consciousness, or severe headaches while you have mumps.
Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas, an organ in the abdominal cavity.
Mumps-induced pancreatitis is a temporary condition. Symptoms include abdominal
pain, nausea, and vomiting.
virus also leads to permanent hearing loss in about 5 out of every 10,000
cases. The virus damages the cochlea,
one of the structures in your inner ear that facilitates hearing.
How Can I Prevent Mumps?
can prevent mumps. Most infants and 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 12 and 15 months at a routine well-child visit. A
second vaccination is necessary for school-aged children between 4 and 6 years
were born before 1957 and haven’t yet contracted mumps may wish to be
vaccinated. Those who work in a high-risk environment, such as a hospital or
school, should always be vaccinated against mumps.
patients who have a compromised immune system, who are allergic to gelatin or
neomycin, or who are pregnant, shouldn’t receive the MMR vaccine.
family doctor about an immunization schedule for you and your children.