Mumps is a contagious viral infection found in children and young adults that have not been vaccinated or had it before. It is an airborne virus so is spread through saliva droplets from coughs and sneezes or touching a contaminated object and then the virus entering the airways and sharing utensils. When you get mumps, the virus moves from your airways into your parotid glands around the neck and reproduces causing inflammation and swelling of the glands.
The most common symptom is swelling of the parotid glands, which are located on either side of your face, just below your ears. High temperature and other fever symptoms such as headaches and tiredness are also common.
The symptoms of mumps usually develop 14 to 25 days after a person is infected with the mumps virus. It is the swelling that acts as the tool for diagnosis.
There is currently no cure for mumps but you can take steps to relieve the symptoms until your body fights off the virus. Rest, painkillers and fluids are highly advised. If your symptoms don’t improve after seven days, or they suddenly worsen, contact your GP for advice.
It is important to try and prevent the spread of this contagious virus. If you have mumps you should stay away from college or university, wash your hands thoroughly and dispose of tissues carefully.
Visit the NHS website for more information on Mumps.