Mumps

Do you have swollen glands on your face? If yes, then you might have mumps. It is a viral infection that affects saliva-producing glands located around your ears. This condition infects one or both glands. It is a common childhood disease in the US. But after the introduction of the mumps vaccine, the cases have declined. If you get the infection, in some cases, its complications can lead to hearing loss. Talk to a specialist for infectious diseases if you have any concerns. 

Causes 

This disease is caused by a group of viruses called paramyxoviruses. It spreads from person to person by coming in contact with saliva or respiratory fluids (that can come through the nose, mouth, or throat). It can spread through an infected person sneezing, coughing, talking, sharing objects that contain their infected saliva or respiratory droplets, or while participating in an activity where you are in direct contact with others.  

Signs and symptoms 

Symptoms can vary in their range as some people develop no symptoms or some experience mild ones. Symptoms appear 7 to 25 days (about 3 and a half weeks) after the infection. The major sign of this infection is swollen salivary glands that make the cheeks puff up. It is known as parotitis, which can happen on one or both sides of the face. Other signs include: 

  • Fever 
  • Headache 
  • Pain while chewing and swallowing 
  • Muscle pain 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Weakness 
  • Fatigue 

In case of severe infection, these are the symptoms:  

  • High fever 
  • Severe headache 
  • Confusion 
  • Stomach pain 
  • Vomiting 
  • Seizures 
  • Confusion 

If you notice any severe symptoms, then contact your healthcare provider right away.  

Risk factors 

Some risk factors that can increase the chances of developing mumps infection include: 

  • People who have weak immune systems 
  • People who are not vaccinated.  
  • People who live in hostels, dorms, or close quarters.  
  • People who travel internationally.  

Diagnosis 

To diagnose mumps infection, the doctor is first likely to ask about the symptoms you’re having and ask whether you’ve taken the vaccine or not. And to confirm your condition, the doctor recommends you get a blood test. Blood test helps to rule out other conditions.  

To diagnose mumps, the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is usually done. In this test, they swab the child’s cheek or throat to collect a sample of their mucus and send it to the pathologist’s lab for examination. 

Treatment 

This infection goes away on its own in a few weeks. You can do some home remedies to ease your symptoms. These are:  

  • Take plenty of rest. This is the best treatment for mumps. 
  • Drink plenty of water. 
  • Eat soft, easy-to-chew food to reduce the discomfort and pain you experience when you chew or swallow.  
  • Avoid eating acidic foods. 
  • Suck on ice cubes for sore throat.  
  • To reduce the swollen glands, you can put ice or heat packs on it.  
  • Don’t use aspirin because aspirin is harmful to children. Give non-aspirin medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen to reduce and help with the pain.  

Complications 

Complications that happen from mumps are rare, but they are quite dangerous. Complications include: 

  • Arthritis: It is inflammation that happens in joints.  
  • Deafness: Permanent hearing loss. 
  • Encephalitis: It is inflammation that happens to the brain. 
  • Meningitis: Inflammation that happens to the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord. 
  • Oophoritis: Inflammation of the ovaries. 
  • Orchitis: Inflammation that happens in the testicles. 
  • Pancreatitis: Inflammation that happens in the pancreas. 
  • Thyroiditis: Inflammation of the thyroid gland. 

Mumps that happen during pregnancy is harmless and very rarely lead to miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, or any birth defects or death in the fetus. If you get diagnosed with mumps during pregnancy or get exposed to mumps, visit your healthcare provider right away.  

Mumps is a viral infection that usually happens to children or adults. It affects your saliva-producing glands (one or both). It is caused by paramyxoviruses coming in contact with an infected person’s saliva or respiratory fluids. You can prevent this infection by getting the mumps vaccine. Usually, it goes away on its own in a few weeks. But you should follow home remedies to reduce its symptoms.  

Want to what precautions you show to take to prevent mumps complications? At Doral Health and Wellness, we have specialists for Infectious Diseases that can help you manage your condition. For more information, you can visit us at 1797 Pitkin Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, 11212, or call us at 1-347-384-5690. You can also visit our website at https://doralhw.org or contact us at info@doralhw.org if you have any queries.