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Mumps: What you need to know
Mumps is a viral illness that can cause fever, body aches, headaches, fatigue, swelling of the salivary glands or pain with chewing or swallowing. About one-third of people who contract the mumps virus do not develop any symptoms. It is most commonly spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and a non-infected person inhales respiratory droplets that contain the virus. Those infected with mumps are usually contagious from two days before to five days after they develop symptoms.
Up to half of people who get mumps have very mild or no symptoms, and therefore do not know they were infected with mumps. Common symptoms include:
- Swollen and tender salivary glands under the ears
- Muscle aches
- Loss of appetite
Most people who have been given the mumps vaccine are usually protected for life against mumps infection. However, mumps can occur in previously immunized persons.
Treatment for mumps is similar to any other virus. Those who are diagnosed should stay home for five days after symptoms begin and stay away from others. Mouth and nose should be covered during any sneezing or coughing and hands should be washed frequently. Pain, discomfort and fever can be treated with ibuprofen or Tylenol. Drink plenty of fluids and eat when you’re able.
If you think you have mumps, take the following actions:
- Contact UHS to be seen by a provider
- If someone you’re in close contact has been diagnosed, contact UHS for possible next steps.
- Stay home from work, school, sports and all public gatherings for five days after symptoms start.
- Practice good hand and respiratory hygiene. Wash your hands often with soap and water and cover your coughs and sneezes.