Mumps is an infection caused by a virus. It can cause painful swelling of the salivary glands (between the ear and the jaw). About one in three people with mumps do not get this swelling. Mumps can also cause an infection in the nose and throat and can have some complications.
Symptoms of mumps
A person usually notices the first symptoms 16 to 18 days (2 and a half weeks) after they are infected. It can take up to 25 days for symptoms to appear. Symptoms of mumps are:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Belly pain
- Swollen cheeks
- Swollen and painful testicles
Some infected people have no symptoms. An infected person is most likely to spread Mumps one to two days before and five days after symptoms start. But it is possible to spread the virus for seven days before and nine days after the symptoms start.
The best way to prevent mumps is for all family members to get the mumps vaccine. In Canada, a vaccine is available that protects against Measles, Mumps, and Rubella. Most people get the vaccine in childhood(see the childhood vaccine schedule). This is for free for all Nunavummiut at the health centre.
Most infected people recover from Mumps with rest and simple care at home. In severe cases, they may have to go to a hospital.