What is mumps?
Mumps is a highly contagious disease caused by infection with a virus. Infection with the mumps virus results in tenderness and swelling of the salivary glands in the cheeks and neck. Rare complications of mumps infection can include inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) and of the tissues covering the brain and spinal cord (meningitis), deafness, arthritis, and inflammation of the testes, kidney, pancreas, or thyroid gland. The mumps vaccine will prevent the disease.
How do you get it?
Mumps is spread through the air by droplets from the nose and mouth of an infected person, or by direct exposure to saliva from a person with mumps virus
What are the symptoms of mumps?
The symptoms include fever, swelling, and soreness of the salivary glands in the neck region (most often at the area at the lower jaw near the ears). Inflammation of the testicles is the most common complication in males who get the disease after puberty. Meningitis occurs in up to 10% of mumps cases. About one third of persons infected with the virus do not show any symptoms.
When do symptoms start?
The symptoms usually start 18 days after infection with the virus, but the onset can range from 12 to 25 days.
What is the treatment for mumps?
There is no specific treatment for mumps. Care of patients with mumps consists mainly of ensuring adequate intake of water and food, bed rest, and acetaminophen (Tylenol) for fever control.
If you get it once can you get it again?
No. A person develops lifelong protection after having the disease once.
Is there a vaccine for mumps?
Yes. All children should receive the mumps vaccine which is usually given as measles/ mumps/rubella (MMR) shot. The first dose given is given at 12-15 months of age, and a second dose is recommended at 4 to 6 years of age. Unvaccinated adults born after 1956 should receive the MMR vaccine as soon as possible, unless they have had a blood test showing they are immune to mumps.
Should a person with mumps stay home from school or work?
Yes. A person with mumps should not be allowed to attend school or work for 9 days after the beginning of symptoms. The most contagious period is from 2 days before the beginning of symptoms to about 9 days after symptoms start.
How can you keep from getting it?
The best way to keep from getting mumps is to get vaccinated at the recommended age.
Pregnant women and people with a life threatening allergic reaction to gelatin, neomycin, or a previous dose of MMR vaccine should not receive the MMR vaccine. Persons with immune system problems or who are moderately or severely ill should consult with their doctor about whether they should be vaccinated.