The mumps is a viral infection of the parotid glands, the saliva producing glands present within the cheek in front of the ears. The infection often results in the swelling of the parotid glands. This contagious infection was contained to a large extent after the introduction of the mumps vaccination. In most cases, the condition improves after about 10 days. However, in some cases, complications like meningitis and pancreatitis are also noted. Vaccination for the mumps is usually given as a part of MMR (mumps, measles and rubella) vaccines. This is a part of the usual immunization scheme for children. Outbreak of this viral infection still happens in different parts of the world and hence mumps vaccination is important.
The mumps virus usually spreads from one person to another through direct contact and hence is common in people who live in close quarters. The spread of virus usually occurs through respiratory droplets. Therefore, coughing, sneezing, and sharing drinks and food leads to spreading of the disease. A person may contract the disease one to two days before the symptoms appear from an infected person. The infection is contagious five to nine days after the appearance of the symptoms also.
Some people may remain asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms with this viral infection. Symptoms of the disease usually appear two to three weeks after initial infection.
Some of the common symptoms of the disease include:
- Swelling in the jaw
- Jaw pain
- High fever
- Head ache
- Sore throat and ear pain during swallowing
- Joint pain
- Lack of appetite
Some of the symptoms of mumps, like swollen salivary glands and fever, are seen in other conditions like tonsillitis. It is better to get it diagnosed by a doctor when you see any of the above-mentioned symptoms. Please ensure that you do not spread the infection to anybody else while you are waiting to meet with a doctor.
Mumps may result in inflammation of other organs in other parts of the body. This includes inflammation of pancreas, brain, ovaries, breasts, and testicles. Hearing loss and miscarriages are also a complication, in some cases.