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Mumps in children – what you need to know

Last week, my son came back from school as usual. Took his bath, did his homework and started playing. Shortly after, he lay down, became quiet and slowly drifted off to sleep. HIGH UNUSUAL! So I had to check what the matter was. He doesn’t just fall asleep after school like that. When I went to check on him, he was burning hot! A temperature of above 38 degrees Celsius. I bathed him and gave him paracetamol. But I was worried. “What could be the cause of this temperature”? He didn’t have a cough or runny nose or anything.

Usually, in my boy, a cough precedes any temperature. But this time, NOTHING.

He took paracetamol 2 times that evening and once the next morning. I sent him off to school because i assumed whatever it was will abate. However, during school hours the next day, I got a call that he is complaining his ears were hurting. I went to the school. By the time I got there, the sides of his head, around his ear region down to his jaw were swollen! And he was in serious pains.

HOW!

WHY?

I was terrified.

I took him straight to the hospital to see a doctor. There, it was confirmed to be Mumps.

WHAT IS MUMPS?

Mumps is a viral infection which affects the salivary glands and causes painful swelling. In children, it is relatively mild, though still painful.

SYMPTOMS

Symptoms of mumps include

  • Fever
  • Swollen cheek and jaw line
  • Tiredness
  • Pain in the ear region

TREATMENT

There is no treatment for mumps. All you can do is manage the symptoms until the virus runs its course and goes. So you try to keep the child as comfortable as possible, giving analgesics like paracetamol or ibuprofen for the pain and vitamin C to boost immunity and help the body fight off the virus. Also lots of fluid to keep the child hydrated

MUMPS IS VERY CONTAGIOUS! SO YOU WILL NEED TO KEEP THE CHILD AWAY FROM OTHER CHILDREN TO PREVENT INFECTING THEM.

Mumps spreads through the air from one person to another through coughing, sneezing or even speaking. Mumps can also spread by touch. For example, your child may catch the virus by touching a surface covered with infected droplets and then touching their eyes, mouth or face.

Mumps spreads from one to two days before the glands start to swell to five days after swelling starts. If your child has mumps, keep them away from others, especially from babies and younger children, until they are no longer contagious.

PREVENTION

A vaccine to protect against mumps is available free of charge in many countries as part of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Children receive it in two doses.

Most cases of mumps occur in people who have not been vaccinated or have not received the booster shot. Ask your doctor about the MMR vaccine if you or your child are not immune. (From aboutkidshealth.ca)

Mumps is very painful so it’s better to prevent it than treat it. So check if your child’s immunizations are all up to date and if they have had the MMR vaccine.

MYTHS ABOUT MUMPS

There are so many myths about mumps, especially in Nigeria, which just aren’t true. These myths say that, you can cure mumps by

  1. Chewing raw corn and rubbing it on the affected area
  2. Rubbing ash on the affected area
  3. Taking antibiotics

These are very false and do nothing to help treat mumps. It is a viral infection which will run its course and disappear.


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