Mumps is a viral infection passed from an individual to another through the saliva, nasal discharges and close contact with a person suffering from the infection. Parotid glands (salivary glands) which are responsible for the production saliva are primarily affected by this condition. Three sets of salivary glands located behind and below the ears are present on each side of your face. Swelling of the salivary glands is a major mumps symytom, leading to swollen face or jaw.
What Are the Mumps Symptoms?
Most people show mumps symptoms, but studies have shown that one in three patients is usually asymptomatic. A mumps patient is most contagious from time of exposure to the virus till the time parotid glands swell. Mumps symptoms include:
- Flu-like symptoms such as body aches, headache, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite and fever.
- High fever with temperatures above 103 degrees F preceding swelling of the salivary glands.
- Glands usually swell periodically between one to three days, are quite painful and show markedly on the face. Either the left, right or both glands may swell and pain may intensify when chewing, swallowing, talking or drinking acidic fluids.
- Swelling under the jaw, under the tongue and right down to the front of the chest could be caused by other groups of the parotid glands if they has been attacked by mumps.
- Complications such as meningitis, orchitis, oophoritis and pancreatitis.
2. Possible Complications
Tissue swelling around the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms include; neck stiffness, nausea and vomiting, behavioral changes, headaches and sensitivity of eyes to light.
Inflammation of the pancreas is a very serious complication but quite rare. Symptoms include; vomiting, fatigue, fevers, chills and sudden occurrence of intense pain high in the stomach
Testicular inflammation in males with symptoms such as fever, chills, nausea and vomiting , headaches, stomach pains and swelling in one or both testes which is painful.
Ovarian inflammation in females with symptoms such as fever, nausea and vomiting, tenderness and pains in the stomach region, and pains on one or both sides of the pelvic region.
Mumps Symptoms: What Causes Mumps?
A virus called paramyxovirus is the causative organism of the mumps. It spreads through direct contact with nasal and throat discharge and in airborne droplets from a sneeze or close conversation with an infected person. Children are mainly contagious within seven days of exposure to the virus and five to nine days after symptoms manifest.
Mumps Symptoms: How to Soothe the Discomforts
1. Tips on Soothing the Discomforts
Mumps do not respond to antibiotic or other forms of treatment being a viral infection. There are many ways to soothe discomfort caused by this condition, some of which are listed below:
- Adequate rest, especially when weak or tired.
- Painkillers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can be taken to fight off fever.
- Take lots of fluids to prevent dehydration due to fever.
- Apply ice packs to swollen glands for soothing relief.
- Do not take acidic foods and beverages as these may intensify pain in salivary glands.
- Take easy-chewing foods.Take more of soups and yoghurt and foods that are easy to chew as chewing may be painful due to swollen glands.
You can learn more about mumps symptoms, including its treatment in this video:
2. When to Seek Medical Help
If you observe any mumps symptoms, such as Lethargy, Abdominal pain, Painful and/or enlarged scrotum, dehydration and inability to keep fluids down, neck pain or stiff neck and continued vomiting in your child, call your doctor immediately.
Furthermore, a visit to your hospitals’ emergency department may be warranted if you notice symptoms such as dehydration which may cause decreased urination, dry skin and change in mental status; enlarged testes and painful scrotum; vomiting and constant pain in the abdomen; listlessness and stiff neck in your child.
Mumps Symptoms: Can It Be Prevented?
Vaccination of a child can prevent the outbreak of mumps. The mumps vaccine is administered to children between 12 and 15 months of age as part of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) immunization. Generally, a second doze of the MMR immunization is administered when the child is between 4 to 6 years of age.
It should be noted that there are important exceptions and peculiar cases in which the vaccine can be administered. Special cases such as a child travelling outside the United States can receive the vaccine as early as six months and students who are attending colleges and have not been given the vaccine should be immunized. Based on his discretion, your doctor may recommend extra shots of the vaccine for your child between 1-4 years of age in the event of a measles outbreak.
Most Commonly Asked Questions About Mumps Symptoms
1. Should I Stay away from the People When They Are with Mumps?
Mumps is highly infectious and the answer is an emphatic yes. Infected patients are contagious from about the sixth day of contact till about the fifth day of a parotid gland swelling. Time duration when mumps symptoms begin to manifest after infection is between 14-25 days.
Immunization against the infection may not be 100 percent effective and some children may have a weak immune system. Also, some adults may not be immune and for these reasons, people with the infection should stay away from healthy people as much as possible, especially during the infectious period.
2. Who Should Not Get MMR Vaccine?
People under the following categories listed below should not receive the MMR vaccine.
- Those who display severe allergic reactions such as generalized hives, difficulty in breathing, swelling in the throat, lips or tongue etc. after receiving first dose of MMR vaccination should not be given the second dose.
- Those with known allergies to any MMR component such as neomycin or gelatin.
- Pregnant women. It is also advisable to avoid pregnancy for at least four weeks after MMR vaccination.
- Anyone with a severely compromised immune system such as people living with AIDS, leukemia, lymphoma, cancer, generalized malignancy and congenital immunodeficiency amongst others.