Mumps: Complete Guide

feature image vaccine

Have you ever heard of mumps exhibiting puffy cheeks and tender, swollen jaws?

This happens when you have swollen salivary glands .

This relates to a very contagious condition which is a common problem in children. It is called mumps. Mumps is a contagious disease.

The affected salivary glands gives your face a hamster like look. While this condition isn’t as common in adults, you can suffer from similar symptoms and there may be more complications.

puffy cheeks and tender, swollen jaws are mumps

The condition happens when the virus passes from one person to another in one of the following ways:

  • saliva
  • nasal secretions
  • having close personal contact

It affects the salivary glands also known as parotid glands.

While this condition is very common in the United States, only after a vaccination was made, did the cases drop drastically.

However there are still rising cases and outbreaks and the number of cases have been on the rise. The outbreaks are harmful for those who aren’t vaccinated and happens when you are in close-contact with the person who is affected.

This post will look into the various aspects of mumps.

Let’s start off with the symptoms:

Symptoms of Mumps 

When someone has contracted this disease, the symptoms start to show within 2-3weeks after the infection starts to spread.

But did you know that about 20-25% people who have this infection also don’t show any particular symptoms.

Some of the common, flu-like symptoms that can appear are:

  • having constant body aches
  • feeling heavy, on-going headache
  • you will feel a decline in appetite
  • you will feel nauseous too
  • a persistent strong fever is also common

You  will notice in the next few days, your swollen glands are also becoming painful. The swelling happens in a time period and doesn’t take place suddenly in one go.

Some other symptoms you will experience:

  • considerable pain on both sides of the face
  • fever continues to remain persistent
  • you will have a dry mouth for a few days
  • when you swallow, it will become harder
  • there will be immense pain in joints

We will now discuss in detail the causes of this condition:

Causes of Mumps

transmission through respiratory secretions is the cause of mumps

This condition is known to happen when the there is a transmission through respiratory secretions. This means when the saliva of a person affected with mumps goes to another person. The disease, control and prevention states how mumps spread across:

This virus moves through the respiratory tract to the salivary glands and it reproduces, which makes the glands swell.

Some ways in which mumps spread are:

  • sneezing vigorously
  • coughing uncontrollably
  • using the same utensils as the infected person
  • kissing
  • a person who is infected touches their mouth and nose and then passes it onto the surface which is touched by another person

Also know this- a person who has mumps is infected for about 2 weeks and should be in complete isolation.

Complications of Mumps

While you are not likely to experience many complications, however there are certainly some serious threats you should be aware of:

Many of these complications usually relate to cases of high inflammation and swelling of the different parts of the body. This happens largely in:

Orchitis– one or both the testicles have a swelling and this happens when the male reaches puberty. The condition is called orchitis and is also painful.

Encephalitis- this relates to the viral infection from mumps which leads to brain inflammation. The condition can cause even neurological problems and is also considered as life-threatening.

Meningitis- when the mumps virus moves into your bloodstream and also infects your central nervous system.

Pancreatitis-this is when you feel a constant pain in your upper abdomen and it also leads to feeling nauseous and also vomiting.

In some cases, but not all those who are infected can also have other complications like:

You will experience hearing loss- this can happen in one or both ears. The hearing sometimes can become permanent also.

Some people also suffer from heart concerns which includes abnormal heartbeat and heart muscles.

It is also reported that when a pregnant woman contracts this diseases, chances are she will suffer from a miscarriage.

Risk Factors of Mumps

some factors make you more prone to mumps

There are certain reasons which make you more prone to contracting this condition. These are:

  • Not vaccinating completely and in due manner
  • Age is an important factor. Children between the ages of 2-12 years are more likely to suffer from this condition.
  • Season variation also depends. You are more likely to get it in winters and springs.
  • Avoid travelling to areas where there is higher risk of this condition, like Africa, Indian subcontinent and others where there is low rate of immunization.
  • If you have a weakened immune system, it can speed the process of this disease happening.
  • Persons born before 1956 who experienced mumps infection when they were in their earlier years are less likely to have it when they are older.
  • Since having mumps in adult age holds higher risk of infection and side effects, having a blood test helps to see your immunity stance.

Treatment of Mumps

One thing which doctors point out is that if you contract mumps, it cannot be treated with medications because it is a virus. But there are a few simple steps you can adapt in your daily life to ensure that you can manage the symptoms more comfortably and how to combat preventing the spread:

  • Take plenty of rest when you are feeling weak and tired
  • You can use over-the-counter pain relievers which helps to control the fever
  • Swollen glands can be soothed by using ice-packs
  • Drink lots of healthy fluids as it helps to combat dehydration
  • Eat a soft diet like soup, yogurt and other foods
  • Avoid acidic foods as these cause more harm than good to the salivary glands

Returning to Normal Routine

If you are well-managing your symptoms, you can easily go back to your work routine in a matter of a week. This is when you are not contagious. However to be on the safe side, your doctor will recommend that you remain in isolation for a 2weeks or so.

It is also known that people who get this disease aren’t likely to have it a second time. Once you have contracted it, you will remain immune from becoming infected again.

Vaccination and Prevention Techniques

There is no need to provide details over the prevention tactics. It is plain simple. If you wish to prevent mumps from happening, get a vaccination.

You will only have complete immunity after getting vaccinated.

This vaccination is given as a combination of measles-mumps-rubella hence its called MMR. It is a fast, safe and effective vaccination.

How Many Doses of MMR?

  • It should be given between the ages of 12 and 15 months
  • The second dosage is between the ages of 4 and 6 years

If you are one of the following, you should make sure that you have taken your two doses of the MMR vaccine. Also it is important that the complete course is taken to ensure it is effective. People who should not avoid this treatment are:

  • college students
  • travelers
  • healthcare professionals

While a third dosage isn’t complete necessary, if you are residing in an area where there has been a recent outbreak of this condition, it is advisable that you get this dosage too.

Talking about getting proper vaccination, we will now look into the different scenarios on when a dosage is needed and when it isn’t.

You don’t need MMR vaccine if:

  • had two doses after 12 years
  • you have medical records showing immunity to mumps, measles and rubella
  • born before 1957
  • being at high risk of exposure to mumps or measles
  • have a life-threatening allergic reaction to the vaccine
  • pregnant women
  • women who plan to conceive
  • having affected immune systems

You should get a MMR vaccine if:

  • are not pregnant and don’t plan to conceive
  • being of a non-childbearing age
  • you are attending college or postsecondary school
  • work in a hospital or childcare institution
  • have plans of exploring and travelling

There is also a set of those who should consider waiting for a while before getting this vaccination. This is to be considered if you are:

  • severely sick
  • pregnant
  • a few months into pregnancy

Also the vaccination isn’t a possible solution for those who have:

  • cancer
  • a blood disorder
  • disease harming the immune system
  • getting a treatment for drugs
  • have recently received another vaccination

Side Effects to Lookout For:

While this kind of vaccine is thought to be safe and patients have stated that they don’t get any major side effects from its usage.

However you are likely to experience a mild fever and even rash or achy joints but this is also very short-termed.

Some children may experience mild seizures however they also get better with time.



vaccination can protect against mumps

Mumps is a condition which can lead to many problems. However it is entirely in your hands as to how you will combat it. The condition has been long in control by using vaccinations.

You need just two doses before you become immune to it. Your health is in your hands.

Keep yourself and loved ones safe and secure from this condition. Learn ways to combat the harmful effects of this condition; if there is a mumps vaccine or rubella vaccines which can be used.

This article aimed to provide you a complete overview on the condition, its symptoms, causes , treatment as well as ways in which vaccination is going to be helpful and how preventing the spread should be focused on.

For more such information and updates, stay tuned to our website Dr. Amal Al-Qedrah.

Add Comment

Leave a Reply