There are not that many people who have never heard of mumps. It is a viral disease which occurs in people due to a certain virus called the mumps virus. A lot of children used to suffer from it until the vaccine was discovered.
Signs and Symptoms of Mumps
Before the vaccine was discovered, mumps were a serious health problem. Nowadays, they cause problems only in third world countries. There are various signs and symptoms which occur when a person is affected by the mumps virus but there are some sings which occur more often than others. For instance, Parotid inflammation is a pretty common sign of mumps. A person who experiences the inflammation of the parotid will have certain problems when he or she chews. Apart from the pain when chewing, a person will also experience swelling.
Apart from that sign, there are few more which occur quite often: headache, fever and orchitis. Orchitis is probably the most troublesome because it is an inflammation of the testicles. In almost all cases it is quite painful.
Apart from these most commonly seen signs of mumps, people can also experience some more like dry mouth, sore face and ears and even loss of voice in some cases. However, the cases when a person loses his or her voice are extremely rare.
It is also important to know that in almost 20% of all mumps cases there are no visible signs.
Diagnosis and Prevention of Mumps
In order for a person to be sure that he or she has mumps, it is important to undergo a physical examination. The examination is the best way to confirm an illness. There are almost no cases when there is a need for some laboratory testing due to the fact that mumps are usually confirmed during a physical examination. In those rare cases when there is a need for confirmation from the laboratory, the blood or saliva from the person will be tested.
Just like with every other disease the doctors agree that it is far better to prevent the disease than it is to treat it. The best way to prevent suffering from mumps is to get a vaccine. There are two ways a person can get vaccinated and that is either separately or as a part of the MMR immunization vaccine. The good thing about the MMR vaccine is that a person will not only be protected from mumps but from measles and rubella as well. The doctors in the United Kingdom vaccinate all children who are older than 15 months of age. The situation is slightly different in the United States and children who turn 12 months can get vaccinated as well. Parents should know that the vaccine administrated when a child becomes older than one year of age is not the only one and a child will need to get vaccinated again when he or she is old between 4 and 6 years of age.
The vaccine is not 100% sure but the cases when it does not work are only 20%.
The outbreaks of mumps are pretty common within college and university settings and that is why the governments have come up with an idea of vaccine programs which should prevent any outbreaks which are considered to be abnormal.
There were some protests done claiming that the vaccine is harmful and that the virus is beneficial for the health but people need to know that there is no proof to any of the claims.
Treatment of Mumps
First of all, there is no way to treat this disease. There are ways the symptoms can be relieved, however. The best way is to apply ice or heat to the area where the mumps have appeared. Apart from that, people should eat soft foods, gargle salt water and consume a lot of fluids in order to relieve the symptoms. On the other hand, there are some things that people should avoid consuming in order to avoid making the situation worse by aggravating the symptoms. Some of the foods that should be avoided are acidic foods and beverages due to the fact that these beverages are known to stimulate the salivary glands and that provides a lot of pain in many cases.
Death is almost never the outcome and in almost all cases the patient will experience no problems due to mumps. However there are some complications which may occur like an infection of other organ systems and the infection of testes.
Relevant statistical data
According to the data, the most commonly seen symptoms of mumps are fever, which occurs in 97% of all cases, vomiting occurs in 94% and headache with 89%.
The cases of mumps were more often before the discovery of the vaccine. In the year of 1968 there were 151,209 cases of mumps in the United States. On the other hand, after the year of 2001, the average number of cases was 265.