Mumps is a viral infection that affects the salivary glands. This kind of infection is very contagious and it mainly affects children. Read on to learn more about the causes and symptoms of mumps and some information on its treatments.
Mumps primarily affect the salivary glands causing them to swell. These salivary glands are located at the backside under the ears on both the sides of our face. Due to the swelling in the salivary glands the area between ears and neck appears swollen.
What are the causes of mumps in children?
Mumps is caused by Paramyxovirus. This virus can enter the respiratory tract of children when they come in contact with the affected person. This virus can travel through air if the affected person coughs or sneezes. After entering the respiratory tract of children, this virus then enters the salivary gland and multiplies to cause swelling and pain. This virus can also be contracted by children if they share food, drinks, plates, glasses, spoons etc; with the infected person. This virus may even pass to children if they touch the surfaces touched by infected person with his or her infected hands.
What are the symptoms of mumps?
The incubation period is 17 to 21 days. Initially, your child will seem to be generally under the weather. She will then develop a fever and the glands in front of and under your child's ear will swell up on one side. Your child may even become delirious with the fever. A few days later, her temperature will fall and then rise sharply. In addition, the other side of your child's face will become swollen. She will have a stiff neck and a sore throat. She will also complain of a dry throat. The complications associated with this illness are meningitis and inflammation of the testicles.
How are mumps diagnosed?
The doctor will diagnose mumps by checking the swelling on the face. As swelling will cause the tonsils to move to the side, the doctor will also check its position. After checking the temperature, doctor will also collect the sample of blood, urine and saliva for laboratory testing. In extreme cases, doctor will also collect sample from spine which is known as Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF).
What is the treatment for mumps?
Call your doctor to confirm the diagnosis. There is no specific treatment for this illness. The only thing you can do is to ensure that your child is comfortable. Sponge her with tepid water and give her a baby paracetamol after consulting your doctor. This should reduce her fever. Your child might find it difficult to chew and swallow, so give her soft foods. In addition, ensure that her fluid intake is high.
How to prevent mumps in children?
To protect your children from mumps, it is necessary to vaccinate them against it. Usually, the vaccination for mumps is given in combination with the vaccination for the diseases like measles and rubella. This vaccine is known as MMR vaccine (Measles, Mumps, Rubella vaccines). The first dose of this vaccination is normally given between 12 to 18 months of baby’s age and the second one between 4 to 6 years. In case if you have missed this vaccination, you can consult your child’s paediatrician so that he or she can prescribe and appropriate vaccination schedule for your child.
Getting your children vaccinated against mumps is a must. At the same time is also very important to maintain cleanliness at home. Teach your children to follow hygienic habits. Ask them to wash their hands before and after having meals. Teach them to cover their mouth while sneezing and coughing. Maintaining good hygiene and vaccinating your children as per the vaccination schedule prescribed by a paediatrician can not only help to prevent mumps but also prevent other dreadful diseases in children.
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- The Indiaparenting Team