Know all about mumps causes complications and prevention – Mumps is a contagious viral respiratory disease. It got the name a word in Old English which means “grimace,” and belongs to the same virus family that causes measles and other common respiratory infections.
People with mumps spread it to other people like flu and colds via infected saliva droplets that other people pick up from surfaces then transfer to the nose or mouth.
If you get mumps, you are highly contagious several days before the signs start showing up and a few days after. It might take you two weeks to develop symptoms after getting infected. Mumps was a common disease in children before the development of the MMR vaccine.
Symptoms of Mumps –
One of the most common symptoms of mumps is the painful swelling of the salivary glands on one or both sides of the face. That swelling happens mostly under the ears. Other symptoms include:
- Pain when chewing and swallowing
- Muscle aches
- Fatigue and weakness
- Loss of appetite
Most Common Complications of Mumps –
While mumps lasts only a few weeks and the symptoms are not severe, there are some complications you can get, and some of them could be life-long. Some of those complications are:
Hearning Loss –
This is one of the most common complications that many mump patients suffer from. While experts have not established the exact connection between viral infection and hearing loss, they believe that the virus attacks the cochlea, which is the snail-shaped part of the inner ear.
That causes the virus to damage the hair cells in your ear that transmit nerve impulses that are interpreted as sound in the brain.
Other organs that are at risk of damage from mumps include the brain stream, auditory nerve, and stria vascularis (an important supply of blood for the inner ear to maintain hair cells healthy).
Mump patients whose hearing gets damaged by mumps are normally diagnosed with sensorial hearing loss that affects their inner ear. In most cases, it affects one ear (single-sided deafness or unilateral hearing loss) and is often permanent.
That is because once the hair cells in the cochlea are damaged, they do not regenerate, and doctors can’t repair them.
While that condition is serious, it is rare as only 1-4% of people suffering from mumps get their hearing affected.
While the hearing loss is mostly permanent, you can visit some audiologists in New Jersey for some options to better your hearing. Some of their options include:
- Hearing aids- These are best if you suffer mild-moderate hearing loss. Your audiologist will help determine which type of hearing aid is the best for your problem, lifestyle, and budget.
- Bone-anchored hearing devices- This is a perfect solution for you if you have unilateral hearing loss. These are devices that the audiologist surgically implants in your ear that interpret sounds into vibrations of your skull. The normal hearing ear then picks up those vibrations.
- Cochlear implants- These are the best if you suffered severe hearing loss. The implants transmit sounds to an electrode array that the audiologist surgically implants in your ear. The electrode array bypasses your damaged cochlea, directly stimulating your auditory nerve.
If you suspect hearing loss after getting mumps, ensure you visit your doctor immediately to help prevent permanent hearing loss.
Mumps Complication in Males – Swollen Testicles
Swelling and pain in the testicles, also known as orchitis, affect 1 in every four males who contract mumps after hitting puberty. The swelling and pain happen suddenly and mainly affects only one testicle. The affected testicle might also become tender and warm.
Swelling of the testicles happens mostly 4-8 days after the parotid gland swells. However, it might happen up to 6 weeks after the gland swells.
Patients can ease the pain using over-the-counter pain killers or can contact their doctors for stronger painkillers if the pain persists. They could also apply a warm or cold compress to reduce pain and inflammation and wear supportive underwear. One in every ten males with swollen testicles experience a drop in their sperm count, but not severe enough to cause infertility. Below 50% also experience shrinkage in their testicles.
Mumps Complications in Women – Swollen Ovaries
1 in every 20 females who contract mumps after puberty experience swollen ovaries, also called oophoritis. That could cause fever, lower abdominal pain, and feeling sick. These symptoms pass after the body fights the mump infection.
Also, read most unusual early pregnancy symptoms, here.
Viral Meningitis –
This happens if the mump virus spreads to the meninges, which is the brain’s outer protective layer. It happens in 1 out of 7 mump patients. Unlike bacterial meningitis, viral meningitis causes mild flu-like symptoms and has lower chances of causing serious complications. Some of its symptoms are a stiff neck, light sensitivity, and headaches, but they die down within 14 days.
Around 1 in 20 mump cases cause short-term pancreas inflammation, mainly characterized by sudden pain in the middle of your stomach. Some other symptoms include:
- Feeling sick
- Loss of appetite
- Tenderness of the stomach
Preventing Mumps –
The best way to protect yourself and your kids from getting mumps is by getting an MMR vaccine. Talk to your doctor about vaccination schedules for your kids and yourself, plus family members who are not vaccinated or need a booster shot.
Your children should get the MMR vaccine thrice. The first shot should be around their 1st birthday, the second one at kindergarten, and a third when they are in high school or college.
Getting the final shot is important as research shows that those who have had two shots have higher chances of getting the virus than those who had all 3.
If you have mumps, you can prevent spreading it to other people by:
- Staying away from crowded areas like school and work for the first week after developing symptoms.
- Always cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. If you use a tissue, throw it in the bin immediately.
- Regularly wash your hands with soap under running water.
Treatment of Mumps –
Currently, there are no known treatments for the mump virus. Mumps treatment mainly focuses on minimizing and relieving symptoms until your immune system fights off the virus. The infection only lasts 1-2 weeks, but some measures that can help manage the symptoms include:
- Get a lot of rest
- Drink a lot of fluids
- Take over-the-counter painkillers
- Eat foods that don’t need you to chew a lot
- Use a cold or warm compress on the swollen glands.
The content is not for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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