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What is Mumps?

The parotid glands produce saliva. These are located between the ear and jaw and back of each cheek. If one or both parotid glands are inflamed, it is known as Parotitis. If virus causes this inflammation, it is known as mumps. Once upon a time, mumps was very common. The figures of mumps dropped drastically after licensing the MMR (Mumps, Measles and Rubella shot) vaccination. The first attack of mumps gives lifelong protection. But if the salivary glands swell for the second time, consult the health care provider immediately.

If mumps is caused by virus, it is a contagious disease, i.e., it spreads from one person to another. An infected person may spread it by talking, sneezing and coughing. A person who eats or drinks from a plate or a cup that has been used by an infected person can also suffer from mumps. People who suffered from mumps in the past or who had not taken MMR vaccination may get it.

Symptoms of Mumps:
It is must to know whether a person is suffering from mumps or not. Following are the signs and symptoms of mumps which help you to know whether a person is suffering from this condition.

  • Men and adolescent boys may experience swelling in both the testes. This reduces within 4 days.
  • Nausea
  • Absence of hunger
  • An earache
  • Muscles turn sore
  • Fever which lasts from 2 – 3 days
  • Tenderness of throat and it hurts while swallowing food
  • Swelling of one or more parotid glands

These signs develop round 16 – 18 days after exposure to virus. Sometimes, they can also begin from 12 – 25 days.

Self Care Tips:

  • Avoid food that is spicy, sour and hard
  • Soft foods liked soups, cooked cereals and mashed potatoes must be given
  • The infected person must be given plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration
  • For easing the pain, a heating pad, an ice pack or a warm towel can be used
  • The person suffering from mumps must take plenty of rest
  • Medications prescribed by the doctor must be taken regularly as advised by him

Risk Factors of Mumps:
Even though mumps is not considered as a serious illness, it must be treated immediately. If left untreated, it can result in the following problems:

  • Partial hearing loss
  • Sterility in males
  • An infection of spinal cord or brain, ultimately resulting in brain damage
  • Swelling of pancreas

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