Mumps is an extremely contagious viral infection that usually affects children. Before the mumps vaccine was introduced, it was very common to see children walking around with a “hamster face”.
This trademark symptom is a result of painful swelling of the salivary glands, located between the ear and jaw from rubella infection. While this condition usually goes away on its own in about 10 days, in some rare cases, it could lead to potentially fatal inflammation and swelling in other parts of the body, such as the: brain, pancreas, ovaries, breasts, and testicles.
Know the symptoms
People infected with the mumps virus usually don’t display any signs or symptoms. When signs and symptoms do develop they are usually mild and occur 2 to 3 weeks after exposure to the virus. These can include:
- Weakness and fatigue
- Loss of appetite
- Pain while chewing or swallowing
- Swelling of the salivary glands
How mumps spreads
Mumps spreads primarily through droplets from an infected person, such as saliva, that can be inhaled or picked up from surfaces and passed into the mouth or nose.