What is mumps?Mumps is an acute and highly contagious viral illness that usually occurs in childhood. Spread by airborne droplets from the upper respiratory tract, the disease usually takes two to three weeks to appear. Cases of mumps in the US have declined significantly. However, there have been recent outbreaks over the past two years, most recently in several states in the midwestern United States. Individuals most likely infected are young adults (college students).
What are the symptoms of mumps?Many children have no or very mild symptoms. The following are the most common symptoms of mumps. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
- mild sickness
- discomfort in the salivary glands, which may become swollen and tender
- difficulty chewing
- pain in salivary glands when eating sour foods
Complications commonly associated with mumps:Complications of mumps occur more frequently among adults than children, and may include the following:
- meningitis - an inflammation of the membrane that covers the brain and spinal cord.
- orchitis - inflammation of the testicle.
- mastitis - inflammation of breast tissue.
- oophoritis - inflammation of the ovary.
- pancreatitis - inflammation of the pancreas.
How is mumps diagnosed?In addition to a complete medical history and medical examination, your child's physician may also take a saliva and/or urinary culture to confirm the diagnosis. Your child's physician may also draw blood to look for mumps specific IgM antibody.
Treatment for mumps:Specific treatment for mumps will be determined by your child's physician based on:
- your child's age, overall health, and medical history
- extent of the condition
- your child's tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
- expectations for the course of the condition
- your opinion or preference
Prevention of mumps:Childhood vaccinations against mumps (usually in combination with the measles and rubella) provides immunity for most people. People who have had mumps are immune for life.
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