Ways to Identify Mumps in Children
Mumps can be very contagious as it is a viral illness that infects the salivary glands ahead of the ears. The glands infected by mumps are called the parotid glands. The most prominent symptoms of mumps include swelling in part of the jaw and throat. It is an illness commonly found in children, which is why it is important to administer the mumps vaccine in children.
What causes it?
Mumps is spread through the fluid in the nose, throat and mouth when the child having mumps sneezes or coughs. The virus lives on various surfaces around us, which is why it is important to keep the surroundings clean.
How is it identified in a child?
Once the child has made contact with the virus, it takes about 2 weeks for it to show up. However, there are kids with no symptoms as well. But we’ve listed out some to keep you aware of what to look out for:
- Pain and swelling in the jaw area
- Muscle aches
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty when chewing
Ensure you visit a pediatrician if you notice these symptoms in your child.
How is mumps diagnosed?
Your doctor will ask you what your child’s symptoms are; then a physical exam will be carried out. A urine test/saliva test will be done to confirm diagnosis.
Treatment for mumps
Treatment depends on the child’s symptoms and age. The severity of the condition is taken into account as well. Antibiotics are not prescribed to treat mumps. Treatment might include the following:
- Drink lots water/fruit juices
- Get good bed rest
- A prescribed medicine for fever and discomfort
Talk to a child specialist about the possible side effects and benefits of the medicines. A child younger than 6 months of age should try and avoid certain medicines, unless prescribed by a doctor. It is recommended to avoid Aspirin.
Ways to prevent mumps
The only and most effective way to prevent mumps is to get the child vaccinated for it – it combines vaccines for other illnesses which are measles and rubella. The MMR vaccine is given in two doses – the first dose is given between 12-15 months of age and the second dose is given between 4-6 years of age. In order to prevent mumps from spreading, follow the steps below:
- Keep your kid away from children infected with mumps
- Make sure the house is cleaned regularly
- Teach your kid to cover his/her mouth when sneezing or coughing
- Ensure everyone at home, coming in contact with the child, washes their hands well
- Using a disinfectant on the child’s toys will help.
Crucial points you need to remember
Mumps spreads very easily but can be prevented by means of a vaccine. The symptoms cannot go unnoticed as it involves swelling of the jaw. Treatment can be done at home, but not without the guidance of a doctor. In case of an infection, make sure your child stays indoors as far as possible, otherwise other children are at risk of contracting it. For as long as you follow these basic precautions, your child and those around him/her will be fine.