What is Mumps?

A condition which has been rarely seen in the past, Mumps, has made a comeback partially due to poor vaccination practices. Mumps is a viral infection that can affect the glands in front of the ears and jaw causing them to swell.

Symptoms include fevers, tired, muscle aches, and loss of appetite. The most common symptom is swelling of cheeks of the face a few days after these symptoms occur. Mumps is very contagious and can spread by being in close contact with someone who is infected. Mumps lasts for typically 2 weeks. Complications that it may cause include testicular or ovarian swelling, infections in the brain, and in some cases deafness.

Once you have the illness, treatment is mostly supportive and includes ibuprofen or Tylenol for fevers as well as warm compresses of the cheeks with washcloths to help with swelling. The virus just has to pass on its own but you need to watch for any complications that were discussed that could develop and see your doctor if they do.

Mumps is difficult to detect and prevent due to the delay from exposure to the illness (2 weeks) and the vague symptoms early on. By the time your cheeks have begun to swell, you have already exposed others to the illness for the past few days.

Parents, it is important that you keep your children up-to-date with their vaccinations because of this. The recommended ages to give the MMR vaccine is at the child’s first birthday and age 5-6. If you or your children are behind on their vaccination schedule, call your primary care provider to establish a makeup vaccination calendar.

If you suspect you or your child has the mumps, CALL YOUR DOCTOR FIRST! Do not go directly into their office as you could spread the illness to others. Your doctor’s office may be able to schedule a time to be seen over the phone to help determine if you have mumps.