Dr. M.J. Bazos, Patient Handout
About Your Diagnosis
Mumps is a contagious viral infection that causes painful swelling of the salivary glands on both or either side of the jaw. Mumps had been a common childhood illness before the mumps vaccine became available. Since then, the incidence of mumps has decreased dramatically. Mumps is transmitted by airborne droplets or direct contact. Individuals with mumps are contagious 48 hours before the swelling begins and up to 6 days after it begins. It can take up to 3 weeks for symptoms to occur after exposure to the virus.

Living With Your Diagnosis
Signs and symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, fatigue, headache, sore throat, and painful swelling of the glands on either side of the jaw. The pain increases with chewing, swallowing, and drinking sour or acidic liquids. Recovery usually takes 10 days and leaves you with a lifetime immunity to the disease.

Warm or cool compresses to the jaw can be applied to help ease the discomfort. Nonaspirin products such as Tylenol or Advil can be used for pain
and fever. Don’t use aspirin in children younger than 16 years with a viral infection. If fever is high, you can also use tepid sponge baths to reduce it. Increase fluid intake, but avoid acidic or sour liquids. Avoid spicy foods or foods that trigger salivation or require a lot of chewing. Rest until the fever disappears and strength returns. A child must be kept home from school until no longer contagious —about 8–9 days after swelling occurs.

The DOs
• Rest during the period of fever and until strength returns.
• Apply warm or cool compresses several times a day to the jaw to help ease the discomfort.
• Give Tylenol for fever and pain.
• Use tepid sponge baths to help reduce the fever.
• Increase the intake of fluids.
• Avoid sour or acidic liquids, which may cause more pain.
• Eat a soft diet without spicy irritating foods that may trigger salivation or require a lot of chewing.
• Keep a child home from school until no longer contagious—approximately 8 or 9 days.

The DON’Ts
• Don’t give aspirin to a child younger than 16 years. The use of aspirin has been shown to increase the risk of developing Reye’s syndrome when a viral infection is present.
• Don’t drink sour or acidic liquids.
• Don’t eat foods that require a lot of chewing or that are spicy.
• Don’t send a child to school until the contagious period has lapsed—approximately 8 or 9 days.

When to Call Your Doctor
• If vomiting and diarrhea occur.
• If the temperature rises to more than 101°F.
• If a severe headache develops that is not relieved by Tylenol.
• If pain or swelling develops in the testicles.
• If a child becomes drowsy and cannot be kept awake.

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