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Home > Blog > Mumps Viral: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Mumps Viral: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Mumps Viral: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Max Lab

Jul 11, 2024

Mumps viral disease is most known for causing puffy cheeks from swollen salivary glands. While fever, fatigue, and muscle aches come first, the signature swelling arrives later. There’s no cure, but rest, pain relievers, and hydration help. The MMR vaccine is the best defence against mumps virus symptoms and its complications like deafness or testicular inflammation.

Who is at Risk of Mumps?

Most cases of mumps occur in children between the ages of two and twelve. This is because their immune systems haven’t fully developed and they haven’t likely received the full course of vaccinations yet. However, you can also detect mumps virus in adults if they haven’t been previously infected or vaccinated. The virus is highly contagious and spreads through close contact with infected saliva. This can happen by coughing, sneezing, sharing utensils, or even kissing someone who has mumps.

Cause of Mumps Viral

Mumps Virus

The main cause of mumps virus belongs to a family of viruses called paramyxoviruses. Unlike some other viruses, it specifically targets the salivary glands, it triggers an immune response, causing them to swell and become painful. This inflammation is the reason behind the characteristic puffy cheeks associated with mumps. The mumps viral disease is highly contagious and spreads through contact with infected saliva. Once it enters your body, the virus travels to the salivary glands, particularly the parotid glands located near your ears. Here, the virus replicates rapidly, triggering your immune system to attack.

The mumps viral infection can spread from an infected person’s nose, throat or mouth if they sneeze, cough or talk. Mumps caused by coming in close contact with an infected person attacks people with weak immune system or who aren’t vaccinated against the virus.

Symptoms of Mumps Viral

Mumps viral disease can strike at any age, but the symptoms may vary slightly between children and adults.

In Children:

  • The most common early signs in children are flu-like symptoms like fever, fatigue, muscle aches, and headache.
  • A few days later, the telltale symptom of mumps often appears as swelling of the salivary glands, especially the parotid glands on the sides of the face, leading to the characteristic puffy cheeks.
  • One cause of mumps virus is difficulty chewing or swallowing due to the swollen glands, and some may have earaches.

In Adults:

  • Mumps virus in adults can cause similar symptoms to children, but they may be more severe.
  • Pain and swelling in the testicles is a potential complication in adult males, while adult females may experience ovarian inflammation.
  • Deafness, though rare, can also occur in adults with mumps.

Prevention

Mumps viral disease, caused by the mumps virus, is a highly contagious illness that can cause puffy cheeks, fever, and fatigue. Thankfully, there’s a powerful tool available to prevent this infection.

The MMR (measles, mumps, rubella virus) vaccine is the best defence against mumps virus prevention. This combination vaccine protects against three distinct, yet related, viruses: measles, mumps, and rubella. All three viruses spread through contact with infected saliva or respiratory droplets and can cause serious complications.

Two doses of the MMR vaccination are usually administered. The first dosage is given to the child between the ages of 12 and 15 months, and the second dose is given to the child between the ages of 4 and 6. This two-dose schedule offers optimal protection against mumps and other vaccine-preventable diseases.

Why is vaccination so crucial?

Prior to the introduction of the MMR vaccine in 1967, mumps viral disease was a common childhood illness. However, widespread vaccination has significantly reduced mumps cases. This not only protects individuals but also helps achieve herd immunity, making it harder for the virus to spread in the community.

Here’s a breakdown of the MMR vaccine and its role in mumps virus prevention:

  • Measles: this highly contagious respiratory illness can cause fever, rash, and cough. Complications can be severe, including pneumonia, encephalitis (brain swelling), and even death.
  • Mumps: As was previously said, mumps results in fever, exhaustion, and salivary gland swelling. Though complications are rare, they can include deafness, inflammation of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord, and orchitis (inflammation of the testicles) in males.
  • Rubella: Commonly referred to as German measles, this virus usually results in a rash and a low temperature. However, if contracted during pregnancy, it can have devastating consequences for the developing fetus, leading to birth defects.

By getting vaccinated with MMR, you're not just protecting yourself against mumps virus symptoms but also safeguarding against the potential complications of measles and rubella.

Who should get vaccinated?

  • Anyone born after 1957 who hasn't received the MMR (Mumps measles rubella virus) vaccine or is unsure about their vaccination status should get vaccinated.
  • Travellers to areas with ongoing mumps outbreaks are also recommended to be up-to-date on their MMR vaccination.

Remember, vaccination is the most effective way to prevent mumps viral disease and its complications. Talk to your doctor to ensure you and your family are properly vaccinated against mumps and other preventable illnesses.

Mumps Viral Treatment

Unfortunately, there's no specific mumps viral treatment that directly targets the virus itself. Mumps is a viral infection, and antibiotics, which fight bacterial infections, have no effect on it. However, there are steps you can take to manage the symptoms and promote a faster recovery:

  • Rest: This allows your body to focus its energy on fighting the virus.
     
  • Pain relievers: Pain relievers with a doctor’s consultation can help manage fever, headache, and muscle aches associated with mumps virus symptoms.
     
  • Hydration: Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, especially if you have a fever or difficulty swallowing due to swollen glands.
     
  • Soothing Measures: Applying a cool compress to swollen glands can provide relief.
     
  • Soft Diet: Opt for soft, easy-to-chew foods like soups, mashed potatoes, and yoghurt, as chewing may be uncomfortable with swollen glands.
     
  • Isolation: Mumps is highly contagious. Stay home from work, school, or childcare facilities to avoid spreading the virus to others.

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