Mumps is a disease of the salivary glands that is very contagious caused by paramyxovirus. Infections are caused by direct contact with nasal discharge through sneezing or coughing and saliva from an infected person. The virus can be spread on surfaces usually touched such as handles of doors, cutlery, bowls or plates. The condition causes swelling salivary glands or parotid gland found in the neck.
Mump not properly treated can cause complications such as orchitis which is inflammation of the testicles and cause sterility and other parts of the body which includes the reproductive organs and the brain. Women infected with mumps during pregnancy have a high risk of miscarriage. It can also cause meningitis which is swelling of the membranes of the brain and spinal cord and encephalitis is the inflammation of the brain which is a very dangerous condition if left untreated.
Symptoms of mumps
- Body aches
- Loss of appetite
- General malaise
- Low-grade fever
- Incubation period of mumps is 7-18 days but usually only 10 days after exposure
- Swollen neck
- Pain in the ear especially when chewing.
- Sour taste in the mouth
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Problems with hearing
- Take plenty of rest when feeling tired or weak for fast healing of the condition.
- Take the prescribed pain medications to lessen the fever and the pain.
- Apply warm or cold compress to the swelling glands. Wrap ice pack in a towel and place to the area to lessen the pain and the swelling. Apply heat using a heat pack. Place a wet damp cloth between the skin and the heat pack to prevent burns and delays the healing. Another alternative is soaking a clean wash cloth in warm water, wring out excess water and then place the cloth on the affected area is also good for the condition.
- Wear the prescribed athletic supporter to lessen the pain in the groin. Apply ice packs wrapped in a towel in the groin to relieve of the swelling and the pain. Bag of frozen vegetables can also be used in the area.
- Apply cold compress on swelling breast or abdominal pain to lessen the pain and the inflammation.
- Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration caused by fever. Water is best fluid to relieve of the mumps and for fast healing of the condition.
- Vaccination against mumps is required for unvaccinated people especially travelling to other parts of the world where the condition is common.
- Infants and children should be vaccinated against mumps between the ages 12-15 months and second vaccination between 4-6 years old.