Mumps is a highly contagious viral infection that’s preventable by vaccination. The virus is usually spread by coming in contact with infected individuals. It’s common for newborns, children, as well as young adults. Symptoms associated with the condition include:
- Loss of appetite
- Mild fever
- Painful inflammation of the parotid glands
- Fatigue or tiredness
- Muscle aches or pains
About twenty people infected with mumps don’t have visible symptoms. 30-40% develop parotitis, while 40-50% of mumps patients have non-specific or respiratory symptoms.
Can someone get mumps more than once in their lifetime?
No. People who have once been infected with mumps are often protected for life. When an individual contracts the mumps virus, their immune system realizes its presence and quickly produces antibodies that meant to destroy it. Persons who have recently received MMR vaccines cannot easily transmit it to others.
Complications Caused by Mumps
There are several problems caused by the mumps infection. They can be detrimental, but they are not fatal. They eventually improve as the disease passes by. The complications are:
- Swollen testicles in men or inflamed ovaries in females
- Viral meningitis
- Complications during pregnancy or even miscarriage
- Hearing loss or deafness
How Is Mumps Spread?
Since mumps is a contagious disease, it can be passed to another person via direct contact with infected persons or respiratory secretions from sneezing or coughing. It can also be spread through kissing and sharing of drinks.
Once you contract mumps, it takes about 15-25 days for related symptoms to occur. Mumps patients are highly contagious within the first seven days of infection and nine days after symptoms manifest. Nevertheless, persons affected with mumps and who don’t develop inflammation of the parotid glands can also transmit the virus to others.
Risks for Contracting Mumps
Everyone who hasn’t received MMR vaccinations can develop mumps. While vaccination against mumps is the only sure way to protect against mumps, people who have had the vaccination may sometimes develop the condition.
Currently, two MMR vaccine doses are provided. Those who have received both doses of the vaccine are highly protected against the infection. However, those who have had only one dose have a minimal protection rate of 80%. People born in the 1970s might not have received MMR vaccinations. If you aren’t sure, you can consult your doctor for a confirmed examination.
Tests and Diagnosis
Mumps can easily be identified by the swelling of the cheeks and jaws. However, if the condition is severe, your doctor may need to perform or request the following:
- Swab samples from the internal side of your cheeks
- Blood samples
There’s no precise treatment for mumps. The reason is that the illness is viral and not bacterial; hence, antibiotics won’t help at all. Supportive care might be required for severe infections. However, most people can naturally recover without hospitalization. If you think the symptoms you’re experiencing are related to mumps, then you should seek medical assistance.
How to prevent the spread of mumps?
While you’re still highly infectious, you shouldn’t go to school, office, childcare centers, or any other public places. It’s important to avoid getting into contact with infants or others who aren’t immune to mumps through previous infection or MMR vaccination. Thoroughly washing your hands with soap can also help in preventing the spread of mumps plus other infections.