MUMPS

Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus that passes from one person to another through saliva, nasal secretions, and close personal contact.

The 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.

Symptoms of mumps usually appear within two weeks of exposure to the virus. Flu-like symptoms may be the first to appear, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low-grade fever

A high fever (up to 39.4 degrees Celsius) 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.

Most people who contract mumps show symptoms of the virus. However, some people have no or very few symptoms.

DIAGNOSIS

It’s important to contact your doctor if you suspect mumps so a diagnosis can be made. While mumps isn’t usually serious, the condition has similar symptoms to more serious types of infection, such as glandular fever and tonsillitis.

Your doctor can usually make a diagnosis after seeing and feeling the swelling, looking at the position of the tonsils in the mouth and checking the person’s temperature to see if it’s higher than normal.

Let your doctor know in advance if you’re coming, so they can take any necessary precautions to prevent the spread of infection.

 

TREATMENT

Because 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 sick.

  • Rest when you feel weak or tired.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, to bring down your fever.
  • Soothe swollen glands by applying ice packs.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration due to fever.
  • Eat a soft diet of soup, yogurt, and other foods that aren’t hard to chew (chewing may be painful when your glands are swollen)
  • Avoid acidic foods and beverages that may cause more pain in your salivary glands.

You can 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 feeling better.

Related Articles

JUVENILE IDIOPATHIC ARTHRITIS

Overview and FactsTypes and SymptomsDiagnosis & MedicationsOverview and Facts Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), formerly known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, is [...]

JUVENILE POLYPOSIS SYNDROME

Overview and FactsTypes and SymptomsDiagnosis & MedicationsOverview and Facts Juvenile polyposis syndrome (JPS) is a rare genetic disorder characterized by [...]

JUVENILE PILOCYTIC ASTROCYTOMA

Overview and FactsTypes and SymptomsDiagnosis & MedicationsOverview and Facts Juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma (JPA) is a relatively common type of brain [...]