Mumps – Symptoms, Risks, Treatment and Diagnoses.

There are many diseases and illnesses associated with kids and mumps is one of them. Mumps is an infectious disease that is caused by the presence of a virus. Salivary glands are mainly affected by it; however, other parts of the patient can also be affected by it. It is common among children but people of all age can get affected by mumps.

What is Mumps?

Mumps, caused by pamyxovirus is an infectious and contagious disease. It can spread through saliva just the same way as flu or cold which means that it can be easily caught from the affected person through sneezing and coughing. It can also be caused by touching objects that have been infected such as door knobs.

Most of the children these days are vaccinated for mumps and measles hence they don’t get affected by the viral disease. However, children who are not vaccinated can catch the disease.

Signs & Symptoms

Following are the common sign and symptoms associated with the disease mumps:

  • Pain and swelling of the parotid glands. These are the main salivary glands of the human body. They are present below the ears and are responsible for making the saliva that drains into our mouth
  • Swallowing and chewing may be sore
  • You may have a dry mouth
  • High temperature, tiredness, headache
  • Mild abdominal pain

The parotid glands remain swelled for about 4-8 days. Although it is a mild illness, complications can however occur. And, this is why getting your kids vaccinated against the disease is very important.

In some cases, there might be no symptoms except for the minor ones. The immune system of the body makes antibodies that fight the virus and put an end to the infection and the illness. Mumps don’t occur again and again and will take place only once in the life as the immune system makes antibodies that are enough for a lifelong protection against the disease.

Possible Complications of Mumps

Mumps in young children are usually free from complications. However, in the case of adults, mumps can develop some complications. These complications include the following:

  • The testicles in men suffering from mumps may be affected. There may be a swelling of one of the testicles and it can become painful and inflamed for about a week. The problem does not persist among children. However, children who get mumps after the age of 12 might have swollen testis. In some cases, both the testes may become affected and in rare cases may cause infertility
  • Inflammation of the brain is another complication of mumps however it is also very uncommon. It can cause headache, drowsiness, stiff neck, being sick and an urge to stay out of light.
  • Some people suffering from mumps may also experience some hearing loss. It, however, is not permanent and tends to become better with time. Mumps may cause permanent deafness in very rare cases
  • Inflammation of the heart, pancreas and other organs may also occur as a result of mumps in rare cases
  • If mumps develop during the first trimester of pregnancy, the risks of miscarriage largely increase. However, the defects and malformations are not transferred to the unborn baby.

Diagnosis of Mumps

Mumps are easy to identify from the symptoms that are associated with it. However, the cases of mumps are now confirmed using the MMR vaccine since it was introduced.

Treatment of Mumps

There is no specific medicine available for mumps yet. The disease and illness tends to improve in over a week and causes no long term problems. If the symptoms are mild, you don’t need to take any kind of medication or treatment for it. In case of pain and fever, you can take ibuprofen or paracetamol. The affected child should be given plenty to drink especially if they have associated fever. Water is the best drink for this condition as taking juices may make the parotid glands to make more saliva which will hurt. The pain in the parotid glands can be eased by holding a warm flannel against it.

Mumps are Contagious

Mumps are highly contagious and can be easily caught by anybody in contact with the affected person. It will take about 14-25 days to develop the symptoms associated with the disease. The people affected with mumps are infectious from about 6 days before and five days after the swelling of the parotid glands begin to take place.

Children who have been immunized for mumps usually don’t catch mumps. However, it is not 100% effective and hence care should be taken to keep children away from the affected individual. Adults can also catch the virus and hence they also need to take care of the infection and it contagiousness.

People who are suffering from mumps should stay off nursery, school, work and college and should also avoid going to other places that may be too full of people.

End Note

Mumps is an infectious and highly contagious viral disease. It can be easily caught from the saliva of the affected person. There are no serious complications associated with the disease except in extremely rare cases where inflammation of testes or other body organs may occur. It is more common among children than in adults. Immunization is now available against the disease, however, it may not be 100% effective and keeping away from the affected person is advised to make sure you don’t get the virus and become a victim of the disease too.

The symptoms of mumps include fever, headache, tiredness and mild pain in the abdomen. The symptoms tend to wither away on their own after the body starts forming antibodies. The antibodies are enough for the lifetime and hence you will not be affected by the virus again. It is not much common in developed countries since the vaccine was invented. The affected person should take a lot of rest and drink a lot of water to help recover quickly and avoid any complications.

© Teresa Boardman, Nanny Options.

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