Mumps is a viral infection that usually affects the parotid glands which are the 3 pairs of salivary glands found at the back of the cheek and the area between the jaw and the ear. Children between the ages 5 to 15 years old and even adults can be affected by this condition.
The virus can spread when an infected individual sneezes and coughs. The incubation period is between 14-24 days before the appearance of the symptoms.
- Fever of 38 degrees C or above
- Muscle aches and joint pains
- Swollen and sore salivary glands in one or both sides of the face or parotitis
- Loss of appetite
- Pain while swallowing or chewing
- Mild abdominal pain
- The infected person with mumps should be isolated and take plenty of rest at least for 5 day to minimize the spread of mumps to others.
- Take the prescribed over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen to lessen any discomfort felt around the face, ear or jaw. Do not provide aspirin to children under 18 years old.
- Apply a warm or cold compress on the swollen glands to lessen the swelling and relieve any pain.
- Drink plenty of fluids and consume foods that do not require chewing such as soups, oatmeal, scrambled eggs and mashed potatoes. Avoid acidic drinks such as fruit juices to help prevent further irritation of the affected area. Sour foods such as citrus fruits should also be avoided.
- Wear an athletic support for any pain in the groin. Apply an ice pack on the affected area to help lessen the pain and swelling. If there is swelling of the breast or abdominal pain, cold compress can be applied on the affected area to minimize the pain.
- Take the prescribed over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to lessen the symptoms of mumps. Aspirin can also be used but should not be given to children and teenagers.
If there is fever of 103 degrees F or higher, confusion or disorientation, difficulty in eating or drinking, abdominal pain and swollen and sore testicles in boys, seek medical help immediately.
- The spread of the virus can be prevented by making sure that those affected by mumps should stay away from school or work at least 5 days after the symptoms starts to appear.
- Proper washing of hands, covering the mouth when sneezing and discarding properly must be observed.
- Those who are traveling to other places around the world should receive vaccination against mumps.