Q: Good day Doc. How are you and your family? Please, my 17 months old daughter has mumps. I just saw it this morning. She’s been going for her immunizations. The next one is when she’s 18 month old, that’s by December. My neighbor’s son had it about 3 weeks back, so I’m wondering if that’s where she caught it from him because they are friends and always play together. Please what do I do??? Thanks.
A: Mumps is a viral disease caused by the mumps virus and is contagious. It is most contagious two days before the onset of symptoms and 6 days after the symptoms disappear. It can be spread through droplets like when an infected person sneezes, coughs or even through sharing cups etc.
The infection manifests as swelling of the parotid (salivary) gland on one or both sides of the face (between the jaw and the ear), pain when swallowing, chewing, talking or taking acidic drinks like orange juice, fever, headache etc
In adolescent males, this infection may lead to inflammation of the testicles. Other organs that may be involved include pancreas, ovaries, brain and breasts. Children would usually recover from this infection in about 10 to 12 days. Don’t be tempted to give antibiotics. It’s not a bacterial infection…it’s viral and so, antibiotics won’t work.
What to do? First be sure that we are dealing with mumps. Let the paediatrician confirm a diagnosis. If that’s what it is, only supportive treatment is needed. This entails using drugs like Acetaminophen (Paractemol) to take care of the pain and the fever, avoiding acidic drinks like orange juice, serving meals that are soft and do not require a lot of chewing, using warm or cold compresses on the areas of swelling. Drinking lots of fluids, water especially is a great idea.
If fever increases, child develops stiff neck, convulses or develops abdominal pain, please get to the hospital immediately.
Prevention is by taking the vaccine (first does is given about 12 to 15 months and the second, around 4 to 6 years)and generally staying away from people who have the infection. By the way, the infection also confers lifelong immunity and so the person who has had mumps will not suffer from it again.
Have a good night, y’all 😀