Mumps

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Mumps is a viral infection which is highly contagious and is commonly found in children. The tell-tale signs of this infection is the painful swelling of the parotid glands, found on the side of the face under the ears. Other symptoms include joint pain, high temperature and headaches.

If you suspect mumps you should see your GP immediately, the infection is not serious although mumps show symptoms with more serious types of infection, such as tonsillitis and glandular fever.

Mumps spreads like a cold and flu inside infected droplets of saliva which can be picked up by touch or inhalation. The person is most contagious two days before the onset of the symptoms, and for five days afterwards. It is important to prevent spreading so remain in isolation.

Treatment

There is no cure for mumps and the infection should pass within two weeks. Ibuprofen and paracetamol can be taken to relieve symptoms.

MMR vaccine

To protect your child against mumps make sure they are given the combined MMR vaccine (mumps, measles and rubella). This is part of the routine childhood immunisation schedule, they are given one dose when they are roughly 1 years old, and this is then followed up with a booster before they start school. The vaccine provides 95% protection against mumps.

Mumps is much less common nowadays due to the MMR vaccine.

Complications

Mumps should come and go without serious damage to a persons health, serious complications are rare and can lead to meningitis if the virus moves into the brain. Other complications may include swelling of the testicles in males and ovaries in females who have progressed through puberty.

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