Mumps, a contagious viral infection, caused by Mumps virus. It is characterized by swollen salivary glands (Parotid Submandibular and sublingual), causing discomfort and pain. Although the incidence of mumps has significantly reduced due to widespread MMR vaccination programs, occasional outbreaks still occur. In this article, we will explore the causes, symptoms, prevention, and treatment options for mumps.
Mumps is caused by the mumps virus, which belongs to the paramyxovirus family. It primarily spreads through respiratory droplets from an infected person when they cough, sneeze, or talk. The virus enters the body through the mouth or nose and then multiplies in the salivary glands. The infection can also spread through direct contact with contaminated surfaces. Incubation period for mumps is 12 – 16 days ( Entry of Virus to onset of symptoms).
The most notable symptom of mumps is the swelling of one or both parotid glands, located just below and in front of the ears. The swelling can be painful and tender. Other symptoms include:
- Fever: A low-grade fever may accompany the swelling, usually lasting for a few days.
2. Headache: Some individuals may experience mild to moderate headaches.
3. Muscle aches: Generalized body aches and muscle pain are common during mumps infection.
4. Fatigue: A feeling of tiredness and weakness can be experienced.
5. Loss of appetite: Many people with mumps may have a reduced desire to eat due to discomfort.
6. Painful swallowing of Cheeks and neck: Swallowing may become painful, especially when consuming acidic or sour foods.
While most cases of mumps are mild and resolve without complications, certain individuals may experience complications, including:
- Orchitis: Inflammation of the testicles is a common complication in males who have reached puberty. It can lead to testicular pain, swelling, and, rarely, infertility.
2. Oophoritis: Inflammation of the ovaries may occur in females and can cause abdominal pain.
3. Meningitis: Inflammation of the protective membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord can occur, leading to
severe headaches, neck stiffness, and sensitivity to light.
4. Pancreatitis: Inflammation of the pancreas is a rare but potentially serious complication of mumps.
The most effective way to prevent mumps is through vaccination. The MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine is typically administered in two doses, the first at 12-15 months of age and the second at 4-6 years of age. Vaccination not only protects individuals from mumps but also helps prevent the spread of the virus in the community.
Other preventive measures include:
- Practicing good hygiene: Mumps is contagious 2 days before to 5 days after onset of parotitis. Frequent handwashing with soap and water or using hand sanitizers can reduce the risk of infection.
2. Avoiding close contact: Limiting contact with infected individuals, especially during outbreaks, can minimize the
transmission of the virus.
3. Covering mouth and nose: Encouraging infected individuals to cover their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
can prevent the spread of respiratory droplets.
There is no specific antiviral treatment for mumps. Treatment primarily focuses on relieving symptoms and managing complications, if they arise. The following measures can be taken:
- Rest: Getting plenty of rest allows the body to recover and fight off the infection more effectively.
2. Fluids and soft foods: Consuming an adequate amount of fluids and opting for soft foods can help alleviate discomfort
3. Pain relief: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can be used to reduce pain and fever.
4. Warm compresses: Applying warm compresses to swollen areas may provide temporary relief and faster subsidence of