Mumps is a fairly contagious viral disease (although, not as contagious as chickenpox) and is caused by the myxovirus; it’s also something that has plagued the human race for centuries. It can bring with it fever, so make sure you have a temporal scan thermometer(http://www.amazon.com/Infrared-Thermometer-Non-Contact-Forehead-Pediatric/dp/B015W3OX2U) for your child if you’re worried they’ve come down with this illness and you don’t want to further spread it.
Generally speaking, most cases of mumps are found in children between the ages of 5 to 14 years old, although cases in young adults are on the rise; mumps is rarely found in infants and babies.
Fortunately, with the aid of modern medicine, a mumps vaccine can now be administered. This vaccine, however, doesn’t protect against the far more common measles-mumps-rubella, or MMR. For an MMR immunization, a vaccine that can protect the child against all three diseases is a must.
The symptoms of mumps are as follows:
• Fever with a high temperature
• Loss of appetite
• Swelling and pain in the parotid glands
• Stiff neck
• Nausea and vomiting
These symptoms aren’t usually serious, but mumps can cause some other serious and rare complications. That’s why it’s important to closely monitor the initial symptoms that your child exhibits, starting with their temperature. Using a forehead thermometer will come in handy during these kinds of situations. Non-contact thermometers will be your best friend, especially if your children get uneasy when having their temperature taken.
Serious complications of mumps can lead to arthritis, kidney and pancreas problems, deafness, inflammation of the thyroid gland, inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), and meningitis. Medical treatment should be obtained immediately if any of these symptoms manifest. It should also be noted that the more serious complications of mumps are more common among adults than younger children.
Apart from the well-known symptoms of swelling in the cheeks and neck, mumps in adolescent males can sometimes result in the development of orchitis. This is a very painful inflammation of the testicles that can, in some rare cases, result in sterility.
Approximately 20–30% of infected people do not have any symptoms of mumps at all, and they’re not even aware that they have the disease.
Mumps is transmitted by airborne means or through direct contact with infected droplets of mucus or saliva, which are ejected from the body while coughing and sneezing.
Mumps is a virus, and like all viral diseases, it cannot be treated with antibiotics. Taking ibuprofen and drinking plenty of water are beneficial, but avoid acidic fruit juices (lemonade, orange juice, etc), as these can increase parotid pain.
Normally, the infection can simply be left to run its course, while the body’s defenses fight off the disease. Most people can expect to recover from mumps within 2 to 3 weeks.
Once you’ve had mumps, it’s very rare that you’ll develop the disease again, thanks to the immunity your body will develop while fighting off the initial attack of the disease.
Although a number of people are not keen on any form of vaccination for their children, it’s still the best way to avoid the childhood diseases of mumps and MMR.