Mumps - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

Mumps is a viral infection, common in children, that transmits from one person to another through saliva, nasal secretions, and remaining in close contact. It affects the salivary glands known as parotid glands- ones responsible for producing saliva. The saliva-producing glands are located near your ear when they swell due to mumps cause swelling on your face. It can cause swelling of one or both glands. There is no specific treatment for mumps, but symptomatic treatment can help. However, getting vaccinated can help prevent it. Rarely, mumps may cause hearing loss. 



Symptoms 


Mostly mumps does not show any noticeable symptoms or causes mild ones. Two weeks after exposure to an infected person, you may develop the signs and symptoms of mumps. Initially, it may show;


  • fatigue

  • low-grade fever

  • body aches

  • headache

  • loss of appetite


The most characteristic symptom of mumps is swelling of salivary glands, either one or both. Due to which other symptoms occur like;


  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Pain while chewing

  • Pain in the swollen glands

  • Pain that radiates to the ear


Causes


Mumps is a viral disease that spreads through respiratory droplets. If you are not immune to the virus, you may catch it by breathing in saliva droplets from an infected person who has just coughed or sneezed. You can also get it by sharing the same utensils or food with the infected person. 


Complications


Mumps seldom cause complications. But they can cause some potentially serious conditions. It can cause swelling of one part of the body. The complications of mumps involve;


Orchitis 


Orchitis is the inflammation of testicles that occur in males who have reached puberty. It is painful but rarely it may cause sterility. To reduce pain, you can use an ice pack and over-the-counter pain relievers. 


Encephalitis


Mumps can lead to swelling of the brain- a condition known as encephalitis. It can cause neurological problems and may become life-threatening. 


Meningitis


Your brain is surrounded by a layer called meninges that protects it. Mumps can cause inflammation of the meninges, called meningitis. It can occur if mumps infections spread in your bloodstream. 


Pancreatitis 


Mumps can lead to pancreatitis- inflammation of the pancreas. It causes pain in the upper abdomen, vomiting, and oily stools. 


Hearing loss


Rarely but mumps can cause hearing loss by damaging the cochlea- structure of the inner ear that facilitates hearing. 



Heart problems 


Very rarely, but mumps can cause abnormal heart rhythm and diseases of the heart muscles. 


Miscarriage


Contracting mumps during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage. 


Treatment 


There is no specific treatment for mumps. Since it is a viral infection, antibiotics do not work well. However, you must do plenty of rest when you are sick. Moreover, the following tips can help;



  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever like paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower fever.

  • Apply ice packs on your swollen glands to lower pain. 

  • Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration due to fever. 

  • Eat a soft diet like soups and ice cream, as chewing foods can be difficult for you due to pain. 

  • Avoid carbonated beverages and acidic foods as they can irritate your throat. 


Conclusion 



Mumps is a viral infection, common in children, that transmits from one person to another through saliva, nasal secretions, and remaining in close contact. It affects the salivary glands known as parotid glands- ones responsible for producing saliva. There is no specific treatment for mumps, but symptomatic treatment can help. However, getting vaccinated can help prevent it. Rarely, mumps may cause hearing loss. 


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