Yes, mumps is a highly contagious infection caused by a certain virus known as paramyxovirus. Though mumps isn’t a very serious condition, it might cause potential complications in children and young adults.
Mumps is prevalent in children aged over 1 year who haven’t received MMR vaccinations. It’s also common in teens, though older people might also contract the infection.
Ways through Which Mumps Is Spread
Mumps is often spread from one person to another by means of airborne droplets when infected individuals cough or sneeze, or via direct contact with contaminated substances. Once someone is infected with mumps, symptoms take 2-3 weeks to become visible. Nevertheless, an infected individual can spread the disease even when symptoms haven’t manifested. Mumps is contagious one week before and after symptoms arise.
Signs and Symptoms of Mumps
Common symptoms associated with mumps include:
• Swollen cheeks
• Abdominal pain
• Body aches
Swelling of the parotid glands occurs over a few days, but all the glands might not swell at once. Most often, they become swollen and painful periodically. You’re most likely to transmit the mumps virus to other people from the time you contact the virus to the time your parotid glands become swollen. Some people who’ve previously been affected with mumps don’t experience serious symptoms, whilst half encounter non-specific, or mild respiratory symptoms. Symptoms often improve within seven days and disappear completely within ten days.
Complications of Mumps
Apart from affecting the parotid glands, mumps might attack other parts of the body. Swelling of testicles in men is a common complication caused by mumps. It occurs suddenly, triggering severe pain, and inflammation of the scrotum, hence elevated body temperature. Rarely does mumps result in sterility. Ovarian inflammation and swelling of breasts can also happen in post-pubertal women.
Mumps can also to lead to meningitis, which is a very serious illness caused by brain or spinal swellings. When it occurs due to mumps, it’s likely to be less tragic as compared to the normal strain. Meningitis developing as a result of mumps occurs 3-10 days after mumps-related symptoms occur. Common signs include headaches, high temperature, neck stiffness, vomiting, and restlessness. Other possible complications include encephalitis and pancreatic inflammations. Rarely do these complications lead to death.
Treatment Options for Mumps
There’s no precise cure for mumps. Therefore, treatments are focused on alleviating symptoms. These include sufficient bed rest and taking plenty of fluids. People suffering from mumps shouldn’t attend school or work while they’re still highly infectious, in order to avoid spreading the disease to others.
Prevention of Mumps
Vaccination is the only sure way to protect against mumps infections. The MMR vaccine is an effectual vaccine that prevents measles, mumps, and rubella. It’s administered for free to infants aged 12-15 months. A second booster is provided at 4-5 years of age, particularly when children start school.
One dose of the MMR vaccine prevents the occurrence of mumps in about 90% of immunized kids. After the second booster dose is provided, more than 99% of immunized children receive optimal protection. MMR vaccines consist of weakened types of live rubella, mumps, and measles viruses. The MMR vaccination triggers the immune system to produce antibodies against the infectious illnesses.