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Mumps and What you can Do

Aug 17, 2007
Mumps is another disease that is caused by a virus. Mumps most often spread through the saliva and can infect several parts of your child's body especially the parotid salivary glands. These are the glands that are located close to the back of the cheek in the area that is between the ear and the jaw. These glands will swell and become painful.

Symptoms of mumps normally begin with a high fever of up to 103 degrees Fahrenheit or 39.4 degrees Celsius. Along with a fever, your child will complain of a headache and will not have a desire to eat. You will notice swelling in the glands along the jaw line. If you have ever seen a squirrel or hamster with food in their cheeks then you have an idea of what your child will resemble. The glands will continue to swell and become more painful to the touch for up to three days. The pain will increase when your little one chews, talks, swallows or drinks acidic juices such as orange juice.

Both glands normally swell with one first and then within a few days the other one will begin to swell. In some rare cases, mumps will also affect other salivary glands such as under the jaw, tongue, and even down into the front of the chest.

Mumps do not necessarily stay in the salivary glands and have been known to travel to the brain and other organs. Meningitis and encephalitis are both complications of mumps. Symptoms of meningitis and encephalitis normally begin in the first week with high fever, headache, nausea, stiff neck, vomiting, convulsions, and drowsiness.

If an adolescent or an adult male comes down with mumps, it can result in the development of orchitis. Orchitis is an inflammation of the testicles. This normally occurs about seven to ten days the glands under the jaw begin to swell and one testicle will become swollen and painful. The symptoms for orchitis besides ones that can be seen include high fever, headache, shaking chills, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. The swelling and pain usually goes away within 3 to 7 days as the fever leaves. In most cases, only one testicle is involved, in severe cases both testicles have been affected.

In females, mumps can also affect the ovaries, which can cause tenderness and pain the abdomen.

Not every child or person that comes down with mumps have severe symptoms. Doctors have speculated that one in three persons may have the infection without any symptoms.
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