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Mumps is a contagious disease that commonly affects children. It leads to fever and swelling in the salivary glands.

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The disease usually gets cured in 10 days. However, in some cases it leads to severe complications such as encephalitis and myocarditis.

What is Mumps?

Mumps is a viral infection that is caused by paramyxovirus. It affects the parotid glands, that is, one of the glands that produces saliva. This gland is situated in the front and below the ears. There is no specific treatment for mumps. Vaccination has helped drop the number of cases of mumps today.

How Does One Get Infected With Mumps?

This viral infection spreads by airborne droplets. These droplets are spread from the nose and throat. In order to catch the infection, one needs to come in close contact with the infected person.

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The disease often occurs in toddlers and children over the age of two. The virus after gaining entry into the airways, it enters the bloodstream. It then spreads to all over the body, like the thyroid glands, kidneys, pancreas, as well as the salivary glands.

It is in the salivary glands where it thrives. Thus, leading to fever and other symptoms of the infection.

Symptoms of Mumps

Many times people infected with mumps show no signs and symptoms. The symptoms, if any, appear about 2 to 3 weeks after the exposure. This period is called as the incubation period.

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These symptoms include:

In case of adults, one may develop swollen testicles or ovaries. Thus, one suffers from stomach pain or discomfort in the groin area.

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Complications of Mumps

Complications may arise in some cases. These complications include:

  • Pancreatitis – pain in the abdomen, nausea and vomiting
  • Mastitis – inflammation of breasts
  • Oophoritis – inflammation of ovaries
  • Orchitis–swelling of one or both testicles
  • Encephalitis –inflammation of the brain that can lead to neurological problems and turns fatal
  • Hearing loss – in one or both ears
  • Miscarriage – in case of early stage of pregnancy

Diagnosis of Mumps

The doctor may check for physical signs such as swelling of the parotid glands and fever. In order to confirm, the doctor may order a blood test to detect antibodies present against mumps.

Treatment for Mumps

Mumps has no specific treatment. The symptoms can be relieved with help of ice or heat pack on the affected area. Fever and pain may be relieved with the help of paracetamol or acetaminophen medications. Home treatments such as salt water gargle and drinking fresh juices may also be helpful.

Prognosis of mumps

Mumps have been usually a mild disease. However, when it leads to complications that do not lead to death. The disease leads to death in very, very rare cases.

Prevention of mumps

Prevention of mumps is possible only with immunization. The mumps vaccine is given in combination with measles-mumps-rubella (MMR). It is given in two doses, first between the age of 12 to 15 months. The second dose is given between 4 and 6 years of age.

This is all about mumps. It is a mild disease that affects children. If you suspect your child suffering from mumps, visit a doctor immediately. Any lapse in medical treatment can lead to serious complications.

Written by: Saptakee sengupta

Date last updated: March 13, 2015

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