Mumps can be described as a viral infection that mainly affects your parotid glands. There are three pairs of salivary glands that are located just below and in front of the ears and the parotid glands are a part of them. This is why there is a good chance that if you do contract mumps, you would notice a significant amount of swelling in either one, or both of your parotid glands. Since mumps is caused by a viral infection there is little that can be done to eliminate the infection by means of medications like antibiotics. The infection runs its course and resolves naturally, but treatment is directed towards relief and hastening healing and recovery. Fortunately, mumps is not a chronic condition and in most instances, it lasts for no more than two weeks. However, this only applies to those cases of mumps where there are no complications.

The risks of infection are pretty low today because the disease is not as widespread as it once was. Although the condition is not horribly common you should be aware that the condition can cause some severe complications. Some of the complications that have been known to arise include hearing loss, meningitis, pancreatitis, inflammation in the ovaries, encephalitis and orchitis. Pregnant women, who are affected by mumps in the early stages of pregnancy, should be very careful while dealing with the condition. If the condition is not handled, it could also lead to a miscarriage. Though rare, the complications arising from mumps have been known to cause sterility in men and fertility problems in women.

Just a few decades ago, until the 1960s, mumps was a very common condition, affecting thousands of adults and children in the United States. However, ever since the mumps vaccine was licensed and made available, the number of cases each year has dwindled drastically. Nevertheless, there are still outbreaks of this condition, not only in the US, but across the world. Preventive measures are a lot more effective than any treatment plan and can save you a great deal of trouble. The most effective and practical strategy to prevent mumps would be to get immunized against it, using a vaccination. If you have already suffered from mumps before or have received the mumps vaccine, your body would have developed an immunity to the virus. Health experts claim that if you have taken the two shots of the MMR (Measles, Mumps & Rubella) vaccine then you cannot get affected by this condition.

Symptoms of Mumps

The term mumps is actually an archaic expression, used while referring to lumps or bumps in the cheeks. This is due to the fact that when a person suffers from mumps, his or her cheeks swell up a lot, giving them a lumpy appearance. While there are many other signs and symptoms for mumps too, none of them are exclusive to the condition. This means that you may notice these symptoms or similar ones, even if you do not have mumps, but instead suffer from another health condition. Therefore, it is fairly safe to say that diagnosing mumps can be a bit of a challenge in most people. It is therefore not easy to make an accurate diagnosis of mumps without help from a medical professional.

In addition to the absence of exclusive symptoms, around 20% of those who contract mumps do not show any signs and symptoms that are associated with the ailment at all, especially for the first few weeks after exposure to the virus. After a period of two to three weeks, the signs and symptoms for mumps that may appear include:

  • Intense pain in the salivary glands on either one or both sides of the face, usually accompanied by severe swelling
  • Difficulty in chewing, swallowing or even talking, due to the pain
  • Puffiness of the cheeks
  • Mild to moderate fever
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Headaches and muscle pain
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of appetite

There are some symptoms that are quite serious and could indicate the development of a serious complication because of the mumps infection. Given below are the more severe symptoms of mumps, which should be given emergency medical attention:

  • Deafness or hearing loss
  • Inflammation in the testicles
  • Swelling in the abdominal area, accompanied by severe pain
  • High fever (more than 103 degrees F)
  • Disorientation or confusion

Unfortunately there are many other viral infections that could affect the parotid glands and trigger symptoms that are quite similar. For example, at times swollen glands accompanied by fever could be the result of tonsillitis (inflamed tonsils) or perhaps even a salivary gland that has been blocked for some reason. Therefore, it is best to ensure that these symptoms are checked by a doctor, as soon as they symptoms that are quite similar. For example, at times swollen glands accompanied by fever could be the result of tonsillitis (inflamed tonsils) or perhaps even a salivary gland that has been blocked for some reason. Therefore, it is best to ensure that these symptoms are checked by a doctor, as soon as they surface.

Causes of Mumps

The virus responsible for a mumps infection can easily spread from one person to another, which is why you need to exercise caution if you are infected or if there is a possibility of exposure. Most doctors claim that mumps is highly contagious; perhaps as easily transmissible as the common cold or flu. The main medium by which the virus is passed is through infected saliva. No matter how limited the possibility may be, you could end up contracting mumps, just by sharing utensils with a person, who already has mumps. In case an infected person coughs or sneezes in your presence, virus-laden droplets are released into the air, which can be inhaled by you, thereby causing the virus to enter your body. Many people contract mumps after kissing someone who already has been infected by the virus.

There is an incubation period of around 14 to 24 days, for the symptoms of mumps to show up. This means that after exposure to the mumps virus you may not even realize that you are infected for another two to three weeks. During this time, you could pass the virus on to the other people you are in close contact with. On a positive note, once you have been infected you can not suffer from mumps again, as your body develops an immunity to the virus.

Although anyone can be affected by mumps, this condition seems to be more common in children than it is in adults. Studies show that unvaccinated children, who are between the ages of 2 and 12 years are at a much higher risk of developing this condition.

Remedies for Mumps

Like most other viral illnesses, doctors advise patients to allow mumps to run its course, as antibiotics have no effect on a virus. In case there are no complications, you can probably recover from mumps completely, within two weeks or so. Fortunately, there are many simple home remedies that can you use in order to get relief from its symptoms. Given below are some of the most common home remedies for mumps:

  • Make a thick paste from dry ginger and water and apply it on to the swollen area around the ears. This should reduce not just the swelling, but also the pain in the area.
  • Aloe Vera juice and gel are excellent remedies for many health problems, including the mumps. Take a fresh Aloe Vera leaf and slice it, so that its natural gel is exposed. Rub this gel on to the area that is inflamed, for relied from the pain and swelling.
  • Cold therapy is an excellent way to reduce swelling caused by mumps. Rubbing an ice pack should also help numb the area for a while, which reduces the pain naturally.
  • Get plenty of rest and relaxation, until the fever goes away. Avoid talking more than necessary, so that you can give your jaw rest, which will alleviate the pain around the ears,
  • Take some over the counter pain relievers to alleviate the discomfort caused by mumps. However, children should not be given medication that is recommended for adults.

While undergoing treatment for mumps, it is important for all individuals in close proximity to the patient to alsoto watch for the signs of any complications.

Diet for Mumps

Activities like chewing could be quite a challenge in patients suffering from this viral condition. Therefore, during the course of this illness, it is best to follow a specific diet for mumps, which mainly consists of foods that are soft and can be easily swallowed, without being chewed. At the same time however, it is important for you to consume those foods that are high in nutrients to allow your body to recover at a faster pace. Some of the most highly recommended food items for mumps patients include:

  • Soft and semi-solid foods like runny oatmeal, rice porridge and creamy potatoes
  • Rich sources of Vitamin C, like leafy green veggies, mangoes and cantaloupe
  • Soup or broth-based foods, especially clear vegetable soup or chicken soup
  • Non-citric fruit and vegetable juice, without any added sugar or preservatives
  • Spices like ginger, garlic and black pepper
  • There are certain foods that aggravate mumps and should be avoided. For example, even though oranges are high in Vitamin C, they are acidic and can stimulate the production of saliva, which worsens the pain caused by mumps. Therefore, any foods that are sour or acidic should be strictly avoided. Meat, especially processed meat, is not only difficult to digest, but also puts a lot of strain on the jaw. Moreover, since it is loaded with preservatives and additives, it could have an adverse effect on your body, especially when your immune system is not as strong as it normally is. Oily and fatty food can also worsen mumps symptoms and therefore, it is best to avoid them.

    Suggestion for Mumps

    Mumps is not exactly a cause for concern, but only as long as there are no complications. Unfortunately, there is no particular way in which these complications can be avoided. Therefore, it is best to keep a lookout for the signs and symptoms for any complications, just so that they can be treated as quickly as possible.

    One of the most important suggestions for mumps patients is to isolate themselves for a while, so that the illness is not passed on to the other members of the family or others. This is all the more important for the first five days.

    Mumps patients, who are elderly or are already suffering from any preexisting medical condition, need to consult a doctor without any delay. It is also important to make sure that their health is monitored regularly.

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    1 Mumps remedies suggested by our users
    suggested by selia on Sunday, May 20, 2007

    apply rose water on the affected parts and leave to dry on its own. it disapears on 2-3 applications