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Mumps is caused by infection with the mumps virus. This condition is contagious, and is often transmitted by sneezing or coughing. Symptoms of mumps include fever, chills, and the characteristic swelling of the salivary glands, which are located near the jaw line. Treatment for mumps involves managing the symptoms while the body fights the infection. Most people recover without any long-term effects.
Symptoms of Mumps
Not everyone who is infected with the mumps virus develops symptoms. Of those who do, the most common symptoms are fever, sore throat, and chills. Swollen salivary glands are the most recognizable symptom of mumps, but this only happens in about half of all cases.
When diagnosing mumps, a doctor usually performs a physical exam and considers a patient's symptoms. Sometimes, tests are used to help the doctor in diagnosing mumps. Because other conditions can share the same signs as mumps, a doctor often considers these conditions and rules them out before definitively diagnosing mumps.
Complications of Mumps
Potential complications of mumps include pancreatitis, deafness, and the inflammation of various structures (such as the ovaries, testes, or brain). Not everyone who gets mumps will have related complications, and adults seem to be affected by them more frequently than children are.
Incubation Period for Mumps
An incubation period is simply the time between when a person becomes infected to when symptoms first appear. On average, the incubation period for mumps is 16 to 18 days, although this varies for each individual.
Treatment of Mumps
Currently, treatment for mumps consists of managing the symptoms while the body fights off the mumps infection. This can include things like warm compresses and medication to help control fever or pain. Treatment for complications of mumps may require a visit to the doctor if the related conditions are particularly severe.
The best method for preventing mumps is the mumps vaccine. However, because this is not 100 percent effective, other techniques are also used to help prevent mumps. Suggestions for preventing the spread of mumps include:
- Avoiding people who are known to have symptoms of mumps
- Washing your hands frequently
- Avoiding places where you can come in contact with many people (if you already have the mumps).
Mumps and Iowa
Cases of mumps in Iowa have been of special concern lately, since that state may have a possible mumps outbreak. Evidence suggests that the cases of mumps in Iowa may be related to an outbreak of mumps in the United Kingdom.
Related Health Channels
Mumps By Age
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