Written by Pradeep
Children are susceptible to various infections during childhood. Mumps is one such contagious infection which is more prevalent in children between the ages 5-15 years. It is the infection of the salivary glands in the kids. It appears as swelling and soreness below the ears and along the jawline. The swelling may appear either on one or on both sides of the child’s face. It used to be quite common among children before the MMR vaccine was introduced. If you doctor tells you the importance of mumps vaccination, as a mom, especially first timers, you might be wondering how serious this infection is? Read on to know more about the causes, symptoms, and treatment for mumps in children to help you take an informed decision as a mother.
Mumps is an infectious disease caused by a virus that primarily affects the parotid glands of a child. The swelling can be on both sides of the cheeks or just on one side.
The parotid glands are one of three pairs of salivary glands. While the other two salivary glands are situated under the tongue (submandibular gland) and floor of mouth (sub lingual gland), parotid glands are a pair of salivary glands that are present on either side of the mouth in front of both ears along the jawline. The saliva produced in this gland is drained to the mouth through salivary ducts.
Mumps virus causes mumps in children. It is a contagious disease which can easily spread from one child to another through mouth, nose or throat. The incubation period of the virus is 2-3 weeks. The child stays infected for about a week after the symptoms appear. This infection spreads quickly in schools and daycare centers where children come together. Your child can get infected:
As we already specified, the signs and symptoms will appear 2 to 3 weeks after the child is exposed to the virus. The intensity of symptoms depends on the severity of the infection. If the infection is mild, the child may not show significant symptoms. Some common symptoms of mumps in children are:
Your doctor will diagnose mumps in your child from the symptoms specially the swollen glands. If your doctors feels that your child has mumps, he will order blood, urine or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to confirm the diagnosis.
The virus causes mumps. Hence, antibiotics are ineffective in treating mumps. It will usually leave your child’s system in a week or two. Till then you can take the following measures to alleviate the pain.
If your child’s symptoms don’t get better in six to seven days or if you see any signs of complications seek immediate medical attention.
It typically takes around 10 to 12 days for a child to recuperate from mumps. Since both the parotid glands do not swell at the same time, so it takes about a week for the swelling in each salivary gland to go down.
Mumps can be prevented by getting your child vaccinated with MMR vaccine (measles, mumps, and rubella). It is a course of two doses. First one is administered when your child is about 12 to 15 months old. The second booster dose is given just before the child starts to go to school, like around 4 to 6 years.
This vaccination gives 95% protection against contracting mumps in your child. The good news is that even your child is vaccinated and still gets mumps, there will be very mild chances of complications and the child is less likely to spread the disease after he is vaccinated.
Complications from mumps are not a common occurrence. However, mumps can be serious if left untreated. Even though mumps mostly affects the parotid glands, it can also cause inflammation in other parts of the body, including the brain, pancreas, and reproductive organs. Some complications that are rare but can occur due to mumps are:
Taking plenty of rest and above mentioned measures are enough to cure mumps. However, if the child develops any of the following symptoms, immediate medical attention is required.
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