At Rite Aid, we're dedicated to your health and wellness. In order to keep you well, we must keep you informed about diseases that may affect you and your family. One of those diseases is mumps – a contagious infection caused by the mumps virus. Mumps often begins with a few days of fever, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, and loss of appetite. These symptoms are followed by swelling of salivary glands. Anyone who is not immune from either previous mumps infection or from vaccination can get mumps.
Before the mumps vaccine was introduced in the United States, mumps was common among infants, children and young adults. Today, most people have been vaccinated, so mumps has become rare in the United States.
Currently, there is no specific treatment for mumps. Supportive care should be given as needed. If someone becomes very ill, he/she should seek medical attention. If someone seeks medical attention, he/she should call the doctor in advance so that they don't have to sit in the waiting room for a long time and possibly infect other patients.
How does Mumps spread?
Mumps is spread by droplets of saliva or mucus when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. Sharing items like cups or soft drink cans may also spread the virus between an infected and non-infected person. Mumps can also be spread when someone with mumps touches surfaces or items without washing their hands, and a healthy person touches the same surface and then rubs their mouth or nose.
Spreading of the virus usually occurs before the salivary glands begin to swell and within the first five days after the swelling begins. Therefore, CDC recommends mumps patients stay isolated for five days after their glands begin to swell.
What are the symptoms of the Mumps?
Common symptoms of mumps may include:
- Swollen salivary glands
- Muscle aches
- Loss of appetite
More severe complications from mumps may include:
- Inflammation of the testicles in men who have reached puberty
- Inflammation of the brain and/or tissue covering the spinal cord and brain
- Inflammation of the breasts and ovaries in women who have reached puberty
- Loss of hearing
How is Mumps prevented?
Remember, prevention is the best medicine and it's important to do everything you can to help stop spreading the virus to others. Start with the MMR vaccine. If you have mumps, it's important to minimize close contact with others, especially people with weakened immune systems, and babies. After your glands begin to swell, stay home from work or school for five days and try not to come in close contact with others.
Other prevention tips:
- In public, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow or upper sleeve, not your hands.
- Wash your hands often and for 30 seconds with soap and warm water
- Refrain from sharing cups, plates or utensils
- Frequently clean surfaces you touch with antibacterial cleansers or wipes
What are the treatments for mumps?
There are currently no specific treatments for mumps, other than supportive care.
The recommended immunization to prevent mumps is the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. It should be routinely administered to children ages 12-15 months old, and a second dose between 4-6 years old. Two doses of MMR is adequate to prevent most cases of mumps and any complications that may arise.