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Dec
15

MUMPS

Posted by admin

Mumps is an infectious viral disease which is spread by droplets which are released into the air during coughing or sneezing. It occurs in epidemics, mainly affecting children over two years old, but can infect people of any age. After a two to three week incubation period visible symptoms appear, the most obvious being the swelling of the saliva-producing parotid glands on one or both sides of the face. This is accompanied by fever, swelling in the sub-maxillary salivary glands, swollen glands in other parts of the body and muscular pain in the jaw, ear and abdomen. The pancreas may be inflamed, causing vomiting. In some adult men mumps can cause swelling and inflammation of the testicles, sometimes leading to sterility. There are some rare but serious complications which can result, including encephalitis and meningitis in which the brain or its surrounding membranes become inflamed.

Vaccines against mumps are available and many doctors recommend immunisation for all babies aged between 12 and 15 months. The vaccine has a life of five years, following which boosters are required. Pregnant women should not receive these vaccines since they contain live viruses which can affect the foetus. Normally, once a person has had mumps, they develop an immunity to the disease. However, there are some cases where people have been re-infected.

Treatment of mumps includes isolation to prevent the spread of infection. Rest is recommended until the swollen glands subside, and mild painkillers may be used. Medical treatment may be required if there are complications such as painful or swollen testicles, severe earaches or headaches or a stiff neck. Natural practitioners prescribe a range of treatments. These include herbal medicines such as infusions of yarrow, elderflower and marigold, supplements to boost the immune system, homeopathic medicines or tissue salts and cold compresses to reduce swelling.

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