What is it?
Mumps is a contagious viral infection that is most common in children between five and 15 years of age. These days it’s rarely seen because of effective immunisation. Mumps is most recognisable by the painful swellings located at the side of the face under the ears (the parotid glands), giving a person with mumps a distinctive ‘hamster face’ appearance.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of mumps usually develop 14 to 25 days after becoming infected with the mumps virus (this delay is known as the incubation period). The average incubation period is around 17 days. Swelling of the parotid glands is the most common symptom of mumps. The parotid glands are a pair of glands responsible for producing saliva. They’re located in either side of your face, just below your ears. Both glands are usually affected by the swelling, although only one gland can be affected. The swelling can cause pain, tenderness and difficulty with swallowing. More general symptoms often develop a few days before the parotid glands swell. These can include: * headache * joint pain * feeling sick * dry mouth * mild abdominal pain * feeling tired * loss of appetite * a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F), or above In about one in three cases, mumps doesn’t cause any noticeable symptoms.
- Make a thick paste from dry ginger and water and apply it onto 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 relief 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.
- Take some over the counter pain relievers to alleviate the discomfort caused by mumps.
- Avoid talking more than necessary, so that you can give your jaw rest, which will alleviate the pain around the ears,
Things to watch out for
GP should be contacted immediately to rule out any serious complications. While the infection isn’t usually serious, mumps has similar symptoms to other, more serious types of infection, such as glandular fever and tonsillitis.