Mumps refers to a swelling of the salivary glands. It is a viral disease and an extremely contagious as well as infectious one. Mumps mostly affects children. It is a common childhood disease worldwide. The word Mumps may have been derived from the word ‘Lumps’ which refers to a swollen mass. Mumps is mostly common in children above 12 months of age. Mumps is transmitted by the Mumps virus and affects only humans.
In this condition of Mumps, part of salivary glands which produce saliva known as parotid glands get swollen and inflamed. These glands are situated in the inner lining of the cheeks. The cheeks appear full blown or look like some food is stuffed in the cheeks. This is the classic visible sign of Mumps. There are other difficulties which are called ‘symptoms’ which an affected child may feel.
The signs and symptoms of Mumps are:
- The classic sign of swelling is visible in children with Mumps
- Other symptoms include fever, headache, inflammation of the cheeks along with pain and tenderness
- Sometimes there may be ear ache
- Difficulty in swallowing food, loss of appetite and muscle aches are other symptoms
Mumps is a highly contagious as well as infectious condition. It is caused by the Mumps Virus.
The most common mode of transmission is by infected droplets through coughing, sneezing and breathing. Contact with contaminated surfaces may also spread the disease rapidly. Exposure to risk factors can also be a cause.
The risk factors include:
- Lack of Vaccination or Immunization
- Children in the age group of 2-12 are at a risk of contracting the disease
- Epidemic of Mumps is common in winters and spring season
- Weak immune system due to some other underlying condition
- People born before discovery of vaccine. [Some adults]
- Travel to high risk regions of the world like Africa and Asia
Mumps is easily diagnosed by any medical practitioner with the specific visible symptoms. The swelling of the cheeks of the area around the mouth is a sign of Mumps but the doctors may suggest other laboratory tests to rule out other conditions.
Mumps cannot be cured only it can be treated. The doctor may advise on certain therapies to reduce the discomfort. Normally the condition eases out on its own in 14 – 15 days.
A child specialist or the Paediatrician may suggest vaccination or immunization which prevents Mumps between the ages of 2- 12 years. The MMR Vaccine provides immunity against Mumps.
The condition of Mumps is health threatening not life threatening. But the rare complications may include:
- Orchitis [In adults]