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How to Identify Mumps in a Child
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The most obvious symptom of mumps is
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How to Identify Mumps in a Child
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Hi I'm Dr. Danelle Fisher, Board Certified Pediatrician with www.WestchesterPeds.com and I'm here today for About.com to talk to you about how to identify mumps in a child.

What Are Mumps?

Mumps is a disease caused by the mumps virus. Mumps used to be a common childhood disease but since the introduction of the mumps vaccination in the late 1960's, it has become a lot less common.

Symptoms of Mumps

How can you identify if your child has mumps? The symptoms can include fever, headache or muscle aches, fatigue, loss of appetite or vomiting, and most classically swelling of the salivary or "parotid" glands. Some people will also complain of pain when chewing or swallowing, especially if the food or drink is sour or acidic, such as citrus. The symptoms usually last for about 10 days and then self-resolve, meaning they will subside on their own.

Complications From Mumps

Complications from the mumps virus can occur. These complications can include infection of the brain, testicles, ovaries, breasts or pancreas. Mumps is a very contagious virus. The spread occurs through droplets of saliva or mucus, such as when an infected person coughs or sneezes or shares food or drink. The incubation period is 12-25 days, but usually 16-18 days after exposure. The symptoms usually last for about 10 days, but the infected person can be contagious for 1-2 days before and 5-9 days after the symptoms start.

Mumps Diagnois

The diagnosis of mumps is usually made based on symptoms. There are laboratory tests for the mumps virus that check urine, saliva or spinal fluid, but these tests are rarely performed. Mumps is a viral illness with no specific treatment. The symptoms may be treated with over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to combat fever, headache and muscle aches. Lots of fluids and rest will help, too.

Mumps Vaccine

The best treatment is prevention, and the best prevention is with a vaccination for mumps. This vaccine is combined with a vaccination for measles and rubella and is called MMR. The vaccine is given to children in two doses. The first dose, given at 12-15 months of age, is 78% effective against mumps. The second dose, given at 4-6 years of age, is 88% effective against mumps. Other forms of prevention include good hand-washing, covering nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, frequent cleaning of surfaces that are touched often, and staying away from others when you are sick.

Thanks for watching. For more information visit us online at About.com.
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