Mumps

Mumps is an infection caused by a type of germ (virus). Mumps is usually seen in children between the ages of 5 to 14 years of age, but it can occur in older teenagers and adults. Mumps is common worldwide. Vaccination in one country may not protect you against the mumps virus in a different country. Your caregiver may have specific recommendations.

CAUSES

The mumps is caused by direct contact with an infected person. The person you get the mumps from may not have had any symptoms at the time that you or your child came in contact with them. That is because the length of time between being exposed to an illness and when symptoms occur (incubation period) ranges from 2 to 3 weeks.

SYMPTOMS

  • Painful enlargement of the salivary glands, especially the parotid gland. The parotid gland is a large gland that lies just behind the upper jaw. The swelling usually occurs over several days and often begins on one side of the face. The swelling goes away in about 1 week.

  • Muscular aches and pains.

  • Fever.

  • Headache.

  • Abdominal pain.

  • Loss of appetite.

  • General tiredness (malaise).

  • Males (usually over the age of 10 years) may have severe pain of their testicles on one or both sides.

DIAGNOSIS

A caregiver will usually perform a physical exam. Blood tests can help confirm the diagnosis when necessary. A caregiver will decide if any additional blood tests are necessary to look for rare complications of the illness. Generally, viral cultures and lab tests are not needed.

TREATMENT

Treatment is symptomatic. This means that treatment can only help improve symptoms. There is no medication to treat Mumps.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • A caregiver may recommend immunizations if there is a mumps outbreak.

  • Keep the infected person away from others, especially those who have not had their full course of vaccines or are pregnant.

  • School or daycare should be avoided for 9 days from the onset of swollen glands or as directed by a caregiver.

  • Wash your hand well at home. This will help prevent the spread of the virus.

  • Get plenty of rest.

  • Drink enough fluids to keep your urine clear or pale yellow.

  • A soft diet is helpful for jaw pain.

  • Avoid food and fluids that are acidic as they will upset the stomach and worsen mouth pain. Examples include:

  • Orange juice.

  • Tomatoes.

  • Products containing vinegar.

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your caregiver. Do not give aspirin to children.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You or your child has an oral temperature above 102° F (38.9° C).

  • A severe headache develops.

  • You or your child has weakness.

  • You or your child becomes confused.

  • You or your child keeps throwing up (vomiting).

  • Ringing in the ears develops.

  • You or your child has neck pain or stiff neck.

  • There is pain in the testicles.

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.