Mumps is a viral infection that is highly contagious and affects the salivary glands. The salivary glands are the glands in your cheeks that produce saliva. Mumps is known for the puffy cheeks that it causes in people you contract the virus. It causes the puffy cheeks from the swelling of the glands and jaw line. It is very contagious which makes outbreaks happen often at schools or college campuses where lots of people are living together in close quarters. There is a mumps vaccine. Even with the vaccine you may still be able to get the mumps but your symptoms will be less extreme.
There are other symptoms to watch out for besides just the swollen cheeks. You may experience fever, headache, muscle ache, and tiredness. You can also have loss of appetite or pain when chewing and swallowing. Some people don’t experience very extreme symptoms, just having mild symptoms such as a cold. There are even others who experience no symptoms. This can cause the spreading of the disease to happen without the person who originally had the virus to even know they were contagious. Symptoms usually happen sixteen to eighteen days after being infected. Most people are well from the mumps in about two weeks.
Spreading the virus is very easy. It is spread through saliva or respiratory droplets. You can spread the virus between people from sharing drinking glasses, or kissing. You can also spread the virus from sneezing, talking, or coughing which is why it is easy to spread the virus in people who live in close quarters. Playing sports can cause the spreading of the virus too. You can be contagious before you experience any symptoms, so you can be spreading the virus without even knowing you are contagious.
If you are found out to have the mumps you will be quarantined. Told to stay home from work or school so that you don’t spread the virus Besides that since it is a virus, antibiotics won’t be effective in helping you get over the virus. Just taking treatment for your symptoms can help. Rest can be the best medicine. Warm compresses may help with the swollen glands. Make sure you drink lots of fluids. But just after a few weeks you should be better.
Even with the vaccine outbreaks still occur. Even if you have received the vaccine you may still be able to get the mumps. Doctors still aren’t sure why that happens. As of right now (April 2019) in the United States there have been 426 reported cases to the CDC. This number may be higher due to unreported cases. Mumps outbreaks happen from people who haven’t been vaccinated, or people from other countries who never received the vaccine coming into the United States can spread the disease that way as well. Last year there were 1,447 cases of Mumps reported. The largest outbreak ever happened in Arkansas where the Mumps affected over three thousand people.
There isn’t any certain way to make sure you don’t get the Mumps even when you have been vaccinated. Make sure to consult with your doctor if you are experiencing any of the symptoms.
Sources: cdc.gov maoyclinic.org