A – Z of Illnesses & Conditions

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Mumps: Mumps is a viral infection that primarily affects the parotid glands (salivary glands) that is one of three pairs of saliva-producing glands, situated below and in front of your ears. If you or your child contracts mumps, it can cause swelling in one or both parotid glands.

Mumps is most recognisable by the painful swellings at the side of the face under the ears (the parotid glands), giving a person with mumps a distinctive "hamster face" appearance. Other symptoms include headache, joint pain and a high temperature, which may develop a few days before the swelling of the parotid glands.

Complications of mumps such as hearing loss are serious but rare. There is currently no cure for mumps. Once you have been infected by the mumps virus, you normally develop a life-long immunity to further infection.

Mumps is spread in the same way as colds and flu - through infected droplets of saliva that can be inhaled or picked up from surfaces and transferred into the mouth or nose. A person is most contagious a few days before the symptoms develop and for a few days afterwards.
During this time, it's important to prevent the infection spreading to others, particularly teenagers and young adults who have not been vaccinated. If you have mumps, you can help prevent it spreading by regularly washing your hands with soap, using and disposing of tissues when you sneeze, and avoiding school or work for at least five days after your symptoms first developed.

You can protect your child against mumps by making sure they are given the combined MMR vaccine (for mumps, measles and rubella).

It's important to contact your doctor if you suspect that you or your child has mumps, so a diagnosis can be made. Let your doctor know in advance if you are coming to the surgery, so they can take any necessary precautions to prevent the spread of infection.

Always seek the advice of your doctor before taking herbal remedies

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