My humps, my lovely lady bumps
Mumps is a viral infection that usually affects the parotid gland, a salivary gland in your cheeks, which can cause a chipmunk appearance to the face. Symptoms vary and can range from no symptoms to fevers, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, loss of appetite and pain while chewing. The most obvious sign usually being swollen cheeks.
Mumps had become uncommon thanks to vaccinations until recently. Thanks to Jenny McCarthy and the nutty anti vaxxers, Mumps is back and starting to make the rounds once again.
Complications are rare but can be pretty awful, such as swelling of the ovaries or testicles, pancreatitis, encephalitis or meningitis (brain and central nervous system infection/inflammation) and hearing loss.
The good news, if you have been vaccinated for the Mumps, included in the MMR vaccine, you are unlikely to get the Mumps. It’s still possible, though if it were to occur, likely to be a much less severe illness than someone who is unvaccinated. In 1967 the US Mumps vaccination program was started and there has been a 99% decrease in cases in the US. It’s recommended to get 2 doses of the MMR vaccine, first at about 1 year then again between 4 to 6. This also protects against Measles and Rubella.
What if you’re not sure if you’ve been vaccinated? First, try to get your records. Though this isn’t always possible or easy. Ask your parents if they remember. If you went to public school in the US then you likely got the MMR vaccine unless your parents opposed it. But there’s also a possibility that you only got one injection, instead of the recommended two. Vaccine efficacy can also wane as time goes on.
If you are unsure and are worried about an outbreak or exposure, the easiest thing to do is to go ahead and get a dose of the vaccine, which can be cheaper, easier and faster than blood testing for immunity, as there is no harm in being vaccinated again.
Learn more about the vaccines here:
If you have mumps or any other respiratory illness for that matter, avoid kissing, sharing utensils, straws or cups with others. Mumps spreads fairly easily through saliva, so you can pick it up by breathing in a saliva droplet from someone who coughed or sneezed close by. Wash your hands frequently and cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue! Tissues should only be used once and thrown away.
There is no specific treatment for the Mumps. Infection usually passes in 1-2 weeks. In the meantime focus on relieving symptoms while your body fights off the infection. Rest and avoid sharing your germs with others (you’re most contagious in the first week of symptoms). Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin) can help with symptom relief. No Aspirin the children under the age of 16. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids, eat soft mushy foods like mashed potatoes or scrambled eggs. You can use warm or cold compresses to help relieve cheek swelling.
You should see a doctor if you or your child have signs and symptoms of mumps. Click here for advice on how to prepare for your appointment.
Read here for more information on Mumps
And here for why Herd Immunity is so important
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