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Protect yourself from Mumps

More than a dozen university students in Indiana have come down with mumps since February on three college campuses. Harvard University is also experiencing an outbreak. As many college campuses across Ohio prepare for spring break, make sure you and your family is vaccinated. 

Mumps is best known for the puffy cheeks and swollen jaw that it causes. This is a result of swollen salivary glands.

The most common symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swollen and tender salivary glands under the ears on one or both sides (parotitis)

Symptoms typically appear 16-18 days after infection, but this period can range from 12-25 days after infection.

Some people who get mumps have very mild or no symptoms, and often they do not know they have the disease.

Most people with mumps recover completely in a few weeks.

 

Mumps: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the symptoms of mumps?

Mumps is a viral illness that can cause fever, body aches, headaches, fatigue, swelling of the salivary glands or pain with chewing or swallowing. About one-third of people who contract the mumps virus do not develop any symptoms.

 

What problems can mumps cause?

  • The vast majority of mumps cases do not lead to serious complications.
  • The mumps virus can cause inflammation of the central nervous system, but the resulting illness (viral meningitis) is usually not serious. Headache and stiff neck may occur in up to 15 percent of people with mumps.
  • Males who are past puberty may experience orchitis, or testicular inflammation. It causes pain, swelling, nausea, vomiting and fever. The affected area may remain tender for weeks. Approximately half of patients with orchitis experience some atrophy of the testicles, but they rarely lose the ability to produce sperm.
  • Some women may experience inflammation of the ovaries or breasts from mumps.
  • Deafness, in one or both ears, occurs in approximately one person out of 20,000 who develops mumps.

How can I catch mumps?

Mumps is spread by droplets of saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose or throat of an infected person, usually when the person coughs, sneezes or talks. Items used by an infected person, such as cups or soft drink cans, can also be contaminated with the virus, which may spread to others if those items are shared.

 

How long does it take to show signs of mumps after being exposed?

Symptoms usually occur 14 to 18 days after infection. The time between infection and illness can be as short as 12 days or as long as 25 days.

Symptoms usually occur 14 to 18 days after infection. The time between infection and illness can be as short as 12 days or as long as 25 days.

 

When can mumps be spread?

People with mumps are usually contagious from two days before to five days after they develop symptoms. A person is most contagious just before symptoms appear.

 

What is the best protection against the mumps?

  • The combined measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine.  This vaccine is the most effective way to maintain the highest possible levels of immunization in a community.

 

What should be done if someone gets the mumps?  

  • Stay home from work or school for five days after your glands begin to swell, and try not to have close contact with other people who live in your house.

  • Minimize close contact with other people, especially babies and people with weakened immune systems who cannot be vaccinated.

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and put your used tissue in the trash can.  If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.

  • Wash hands well and often with soap, and teach children to wash their hands too.
     
  • Don’t share drinks or eating utensils.

  • Regularly clean surfaces that are frequently touched (such as toys, doorknobs, tables, counters) with soap and water or with cleaning wipes.

 

 

Where can I get more information about mumps and mumps?

 

Information provided courtesy of the Ohio Department of Health, Columbus Public Health and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

  

Page updated: 3/9/2016