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What are Mumps?


Mumps is a contagious disease, which is caused by a virus. Mumps usually starts with a fever, feelings of tiredness, having headaches, decreased appetite, severe pain and sore, swollen salivary glands. Mumps makes your cheeks and jaws swollen as a result of swollen salivary glands.

The most common symptoms of mumps are:

  • Headaches
  • Fever
  • Always feeling tired
  • Muscle pain
  • Decreased appetite
  • Swollen salivary glands located under the ears.

All these symptoms may occur within 16-18 days after the contraction of the infection. Many people don’t have any symptoms and don’t feel any pain during this disease, and they do not know that they have the disease; with most recovering from mumps in this just in a few weeks.


What causes Mumps?

Mumps is usually caused by the mumps virus, which typically spreads from person to persons through saliva that is infected. If one is not immune, they can get the disease by simply breathing in infected saliva drops from an infected person cough or sneeze. By sharing or drinking of the same cups and other utensils, one can contract mumps if the other persons has mumps.

Complications of Mumps

Mumps are very serious, but they are rare. Mumps are more severe in males as they have a risk of leading to sterility if not treated.


Some complications of mumps involves swelling and inflammation of different parts of the body, these include:

  • Brain - Mumps is a viral infection, this can lead to inflammation in the brain, which is termed Encephalitis. Encephalitis can lead to other problems that could be life-threatening.
  • Pancreas - Pain in the upper abdomen, nausea and vomiting. These are the signs and symptoms of a condition known as, Pancreatitis.
  • Testicles - This condition is known as Orchitis and may cause one or both testicles to become swollen in males that have reached puberty. Orchitis, is a painful condition.
  • Ovaries and Breasts - Females who have already reached puberty, may have inflammation in their ovaries or the breast. Fertility is not really affected.
  • Membranes and fluid around the brain and spinal cord - This illness is known as, Meningitis. It occurs if the mumps virus spreads through the bloodstream to infect your central nervous system.


If your doctor thinks that your child has mumps, a blood test might be needed. Our immune system normally makes antibodies to help fight an infection. If you or your child has mumps, then the blood test will be able to tell if one’s body has begun developing antibodies to fight the mumps virus.

Treatment for Mumps

Mumps are caused by a virus and, therefore, antibiotics are not effective. Most people recover and get well quickly from mumps that are not very serious within 2 weeks, but one should only return to work or school after a week from the diagnosis of mumps.

Prevention of Mumps

A mumps vaccine is usually given as a combined measles-mumps-rubella inoculation (MMR), this vaccine contains the safest and most effective form of vaccine.
Two doses of this must be taken before a child enters school:

  • The first dose is given at ages between 12 and 15 months.
  • The second dose is given at ages between 4 and 6 years, or 11 and 12 if not previously given.

The mumps vaccine is not recommended for:

  • Women who are pregnant and women that are planning to get pregnant in the next 4 or 5 months.
  • People who are allergic to gelatin or antibiotic neomycin.
  • People who have weak immune systems.
  • People who take oral steroids.

People should take these vaccines if they are women and of childbearing age and are not pregnant, if they attend school or college, work at a school or hospital and those in the public service.

Side effects of the Mumps vaccine


An individual cannot get mumps if they have had the vaccine. Most people that have the vaccine have no side effects, and it works perfectly. Only a few people experience a mild fever and a rash, and some adults have itchy joints for a short period of time.




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