Childhood diseases – Mumps


Mumps is a contagious disease caused by the same family of viruses as measles (the paramyxovirus). From infection to outbreak can take as long as three weeks making it very difficult to know its source. An infected child can be contagious 2-3 days before outbreak and 7-8 days after. Children are usually vaccinated against mumps (along with measles and rubella – MMR).

Mumps is spread by airborne droplets entering the airways and then passing into the bloodstream. The virus can enter the kidneys, thyroid, pancreas, sexual glands and salivary glands. The condition is most common after the age of two years-old.

Symptoms of mumps
– High temperature
– Discomfort in the jaw
– Swollen saliva glands
– Swelling on one side of the face (which becomes sore)
– Swollen face
– Pain on opening the mouth
– Earlobes stick out

Should your child develop an aversion to light, headaches, vomiting and a stiff neck consult with your GP. These symptoms may indicate a complication of mumps known as mumps-meningitis. The symptoms are rare but may appear 3-10 days after the onset of the condition.

Treatment for mumps
Mumps will usually run its course and requires no special attention other than bed rest and plenty of fluids.

It is recommended that your child receive the MMR vaccination. Consult with your GP.

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