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All about the mumps infection and how to treat the virus

This infection usually occurs during childhood but as it can easily spread by air droplets from the upper respiratory tract, it may also be found in adults.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

Mumps is a viral infection that targets saliva-producing (salivary) glands located near your ears, which may cause swelling in one or both of these glands. This infection usually occurs during childhood but as it can easily spread by air droplets from the upper respiratory tract, it may also be found in adults.

The symptoms after incubation might begin with:
• Fever
• Headache
• Muscle aches
• Tiredness
• Loss of appetite
Symptoms typically appear within 12 to 25 days after the virus is incubated.
Some people who get mumps have very mild symptoms (like a cold), or no symptoms at all and may not know they have the infection.

Deafness, inflammatory conditions such as orchitis, oophoritis, and pancreatitis, and rarely sterility are a few major complications that might occur due to the infection.

How do mumps spread?
While interacting with The Statesman correspondent, Dr. Stuti Sharma, MBBS, MD, Paediatrician, said that “mumps can spread in the same way as colds and flu. Through infected droplets of saliva that can be inhaled or picked up from surfaces and transferred into the mouth or nose. A person is most contagious a few days before the symptoms develop and for a few days afterward. During this time, it’s important to prevent the spreading of the infection to others. Especially teenagers and young adults who have not been vaccinated.”

If you have mumps, you can help prevent it from spreading by:
• regularly washing your hands with soap
• using and disposing of tissues when you sneeze
• avoiding school or work for at least 5 days after your symptoms first develop.

Mumps Diagnosis

In addition to a complete medical history and medical exam, your healthcare provider may also take a saliva and/or urinary culture to confirm the diagnosis.

What is the treatment for mumps?
Treatment is usually limited to medicines for pain and plenty of fluids. Sometimes bed rest is necessary for the first few days. According to the doctors, adults should stay home from work for 5 days after their glands begin to swell. Children should stay out of school until symptoms have lessened. Both adults and children with mumps symptoms should reduce contact with other people who live in their homes. Good basic hygiene practices, such as thorough hand-washing, covering the mouth when sneezing or coughing, and regularly cleaning often-touched surfaces, are also important in controlling the spread of the infection and speedy recovery.