What is the mumps?
- The mumps is a viral infection of the salivary glands, especially of the ones at the back of the jaw near the ear.
- People who get the mumps will start with a fever, headache and loss of appetite. The salivary glands start swelling and become painful when they chew, talk or drink.
Is it a serious disease?
- In some cases complications can develop, including inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. These conditions can be serious if not treated.
If I get the mumps, what can I do?
- There is no cure for the mumps, but you can treat the symptoms.
- Pain relievers such as Tylenol, or applying ice or heat to the jaw and neck can help. So can eating soft foods and avoiding acidic ones.
- Symptoms usually last 10 to 12 days.
Who is most at risk for this disease?
- Mumps is rare in children under one year old.
- The most common age for the mumps is from 5 to 14, but older people can get it.
- Older children who are infected with the mumps usually contract more serious cases, with more severe symptoms lasting for a longer time.
- Anyone who has not been vaccinated against the mumps runs the risk of catching it.
Is there an outbreak of the mumps in Mississippi now?
- There are scattered cases of mumps every year in the state. The number of cases so far this year is not higher than usual.
What can be done to prevent the mumps?
- Get a mumps vaccination. The MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine is usually given to children when they are one year old, then repeated at around ages 4 to 6.
- The vaccine is 90 percent effective. Because there is still a small chance of getting the mumps, parents should keep a sick child away from other children, just as they would with any illness.
- Mumps is spread by coughing or sneezing, or by direct contact such as picking up a tissue or using a drinking glass. Teach your children to wash their hands frequently, especially before meals and after using the bathroom.