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Mumps is a contagious viral infection caused by a certain strain of the paramyxovirus - the same virus family that causes measles. Mumps primarily affects the salivary glands that live around the bottom of the jaw and near the ears. In some cases, the first signs of a mumps infection usually appear when these glands become inflamed and swollen, which then causes the cheeks to swell up and puff out. This inflammation can be painful and may appear on one or both sides of the face.
- Pain while chewing or swallowing
- Muscle aches
- Loss of appetite
Older boys and young men may experience a condition known as orchitis or inflammation of the testicles. This rarely causes complications but can be painful.
In many cases, the symptoms of mumps are very mild. Some people will experience no symptoms at all. For most, symptoms won’t begin to appear until 12-18 days after exposure to the virus.
Mumps is usually spread through water droplets that travel through the air when we sneeze or speak. It may also be passed from person to person through close contact or sharing personal items such as eating utensils or drinks.
Mumps has become far less common since most people receive a vaccination to protect against the infection. Many children receive an MMR vaccine before beginning school, which contains vaccinations for mumps, measles, and rubella. Most people are completely immune from these diseases after receiving two doses of the vaccine. The MMR vaccine is safe and results in very few side effects. However, it is generally recommended that you hold off on getting the MMR vaccine (if you haven’t gotten it already) if you have a chronic illness, are currently ill, or are pregnant.
Below are common treatment options used to reduce and relieve the symptoms of mumps. During your appointment, talk to your provider about the treatment plan that’s right for you.