Mumps Causes & Treatment

What is mumps? What if the child caught this infectious disease? How to avoid the possibility of catching mumps?


What is Mumps?

It is worth noting that mumps has another, scientific, name – epidemic parotiditis. Mumps is a contagious viral disease, which causes the inflammation and swelling of the salivary (and sometimes other) glands. In the eighteenth century, mumps was considered only a disease of the salivary glands, but last century, when the pathogen causing mumps was isolated, it became clear that it sometimes affects the pancreas, sex glands or thyroid. In the middle of the last century, a vaccine against mumps was created.

Mumps Contagion

A child sick with mumps is contagious from the end of the incubation period, i.e. 1-2 days before the first signs of the disease, and to the 9th day of illness. The incubation period of mumps is 11 to 23 days, an average of 18 days. Like most infectious diseases, it is transmitted by airborne droplets. The virus spreads from saliva droplets over short distances up to 2-3 meters, and mumps is only contagious through close contact with the patient. Mumps virus is low resistant to the external environment and dies at a high temperature, endures no sunlight. Children’s susceptibility to mumps is high enough, but much lower than to measles and chickenpox. Children do not get sick with mumps before one year old. The most susceptible age is from 5 to 15. The children who recover from mumps develop strong immunity, so relapses are rare.

Forms and Symptoms

As noted above, there are many forms of the disease, but the most common one is the inflammation of the salivary glands. It also affects the pancreas and sex glands, very rarely the thyroid and lacrimal glands. There is also a form of mumps associated with nervous system disorders, which can manifest itself as increased irritability, or meningitis.

There are both isolated and mixed forms of mumps, but salivary parotid glands are always affected. Sometimes at early stages of the disease, kids just complain of malaise, sluggishness, headache. However, the disease often begins with fever and swelling of the salivary glands, sometimes on one side, but usually after 1-2 days the swelling appears on the other side as well. The child’s face looks so that you cannot confuse the disease with anything else – it is mumps. Most often, children complain that it hurts to open the mouth, to chew and swallow, and they suffer pain behind the ears. Within 3-5 days, or even more, swelling remains. By the 7-10th day of illness swelling disappears, and the child recovers.

Mumps Dangers for Boys

The danger of this disease is that the gonads are affected mostly in boys 9-15 years old (orchitis). They do not always complain about discomfort, such as distension, pain, or swelling in the genital area. Orchitis often leads to irreversible consequences, such as infertility. That is why, if the boy has caught mumps, you must carefully ask him about these symptoms. Girls sometimes suffer inflammation of the mammary glands (mastitis). The symptoms last for 2-3 days and then disappear.

What to Do if a Child Got Sick with Mumps?

You should immediately call a doctor if the child suffers severe headache, nausea, vomiting, a change in behavior, apathy, or, on the contrary, excessive excitement, convulsions. This may be a sign of meningitis or encephalitis, and then the child should be immediately hospitalized. When the child is sick with mumps, meningoencephalitis or hydromeningitis usually has an easy form, and the child recovers within 4 -5 days. Within a few months, however, you can observe some negative manifestations such as irritability, fatigue, drowsiness. Mumps rarely causes complications, only its severe forms. Apart from breast lesion in girls and testicle lesion in boys, there occurs hearing or optic nerve affection, as well pancreas problems. Sometimes this disease joins a secondary infection as pneumonia or otitis media.

Mumps Treatment

When the child is sick with mumps he or she should stay in bed throughout the period of fever, and if there are any complications – until full recovery. If it hurts to chew, you must give the child liquid or pureed food. The meals should be little but frequent. Eliminate all fried, salty, spicy dishes. The child needs plenty of liquids, a thorough oral care, which includes mouth rinsing with boiled water or special solutions after eating. Doctors recommend dry heat. Put a piece of cotton on the inflamed area and wrap the neck with a woolen scarf. The doctor will prescribe appropriate treatment.

Routine vaccination against mumps is done twice at the age of 12 months and 6 years, if the child never had mumps. The interval between vaccinations must be at least 4 months. Emergency prevention is done since 12 months, to children, adolescents and adults, who never had mumps, were not previously vaccinated and who had contact with mumps patients. In case of no contraindications, vaccination is done within 72 hours after the contact with a mumps patient.

Contraindications against mumps vaccination:

  • severe allergic reaction to aminoglycosides, particularly gentamicin sulfate, and quail eggs protein;
  • immunodeficiency, malignant tumors and blood diseases;
  • pregnancy;
  • strong reaction (temperature up to 40C°, edema, swelling of the injection site (up to 8 inches in diameter), complications in response to the previous dose.

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