Conditions

Mumps

Mumps

It used to be that up to 90 per cent of kids in the UK were affected by mumps at some point in their lives. The MMR jab, introduced in 1988, made the condition much less common, but since the mid-noughties, when immunisation rates fell it’s been on the rise. In 2005 there was a major epidemic in the UK. 43,000 cases were reported, compared to just 100 in 1996. It’s believed that this was the result of kids who hadn’t been immunised when they were younger catching the disease.

Mumps is a glandular infection that can affect anyone, but children are more at risk than adults. It causes pain and swelling in the salivary glands, which are just below the ears. It can last for between a week and 10 days and as well as swelling round the jaw or throat, symptoms include a dry mouth and difficulty chewing and swallowing. There may also be fever, a headache, tiredness, stomach pains and aching joints.

Mumps is an infectious virus and there’s no specific medicine to prescribe for it. Instead the body’s own anti-immune system kicks in and fights the disease off itself, though painkillers, such as junior paracetamol, can help reduce the symptoms. It’s passed in the same way as a cold – through someone with the infection coughing or sneezing. Objects which someone infected has handled can also carry the virus. It takes between two and three weeks for the symptoms to start showing, and kids are infectious throughout this period. If your child does start to show the symptoms of mumps you should go and see your doctor because, in very rare cases, it’s possible for complications to arise.

There was some anxiety in the media in the 1990s about giving kids the all-in-one MMR vaccine. This has since been proved to be groundless and the best advice is to make sure your child has the jab at around 13 months, and the follow-up booster before they start school between the ages of 3 and 5. Experts agree this is the single best way to keep them free from mumps, as well as measles and rubella.

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I am 42 and have just had mumps which was confirmed by a blood test and mouth swab. It started with a sore throat then a day later a stiff neck. Then a day later my right side of my face swelled up and was painful. It was swollen from just in front of my ear down my neck to my throat. You feel awful and there is no mistaking it for anything else. The lump is rock hard and stays for weeks but if you don't have complications you feel better after about 2 weeks. It is a notifyable disease so you must ring the doctor if you think you have mumps. Stay away from everyone and quarantine yourself for at least a week. Antibiotics won't help as it is viral.





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i think i might have or get mumps because these exact symptoms have been taking place and i get this quite a lot of the time maybe 5to6 times a year they give anti-biotic but it doesn't work and i want it gone for good





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im now concerned i have been told i have a glandular fever and all my glands have swollen and some days i find it hard to swallow and my throat feels all dry and itchy and its been hurting for about a year so have i got a severe condition of it or something different





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My 7 year old daughter has a small lump on her jaw line which is quite tender and also her tonsils are up, she is also cutting new teeth. Our GP has said it is a swollen gland due to her teeth but I am still worried about this lump it is only on the right hand side nothing on the left could you please give me your opinion and how long should I wait for it to go away before maybe returning to GP for another look. Thank you very much Paula





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Content supplied by NHS Choices

Mumps is a highly contagious viral infection that usually affects children. The most common symptom of mumps is a swelling of the parotid glands. Read More »