What are Mumps?
Mumps is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus that passes from one person to another through saliva, nasal secretions and close personal contact. The mumps most commonly affect children. It starts with a couple of days of headaches, fever, tiredness, muscle aches and loss of appetite. Most will experience swelling of their parotid gland, also known as salivary glands — below and in front of the ear. (x)
History of Mumps
The first description written about mumps was in the 5th century BC. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, described an outbreak of mumps. The outbreak happened on the island of Thasos around 410 BC. Today, the medical industry describes this documentation of the disease as masterful.
Hippocrates wrote, “Swelling appeared about the ears, in many on either side and in the greatest number on both sides… They were of a lax, large, diffused character, without inflammation or pain, and they went away without any critical sign.”
Different studies of the diseases occurred between the 19th and 20th centuries. The discovery of the cause, a virus, happened in 1934. Claude D. Johnson and Ernest W. Goodpasture documented it by performing research on rhesus monkeys. Then, the isolation of the virus occurred in 1945. (x)
Prevention is the Best Treatment?
The medical industry or CDC says prevention of mumps is the best treatment. The mumps vaccination arrived in 1971, and doctors administered it to infants. As a result, it has decreased mumps by 99 percent since its introduction to the United States. Unfortunately, it is not 100 percent effective, and people exposed to the virus may still catch it. (x)
The first sign of mumps includes puffy or swollen cheeks, which may occur 2-3 weeks after exposure to the virus. The swollen cheeks, as mentioned above, stem from swollen salivary glands and may lead to jaw pain. Other symptoms include flu-like symptoms, pain while chewing, headache or fever. Mumps is highly contagious, but around 20 percent of people with it will show no signs.
Understanding the symptoms of mumps will help determine if you or your child has the disease, and you can seek treatment. Symptoms include:
- Pain While Chewing
The mumps are a discomfort, to say the least. Approximately 75 percent of child cases are full-blown and exhibit all symptoms. In addition to generalized aches and pains, one common symptom of mumps is pain while chewing. Pain occurs because of swollen salivary glands, thus making it difficult to chew. (x)
In other cases, the remaining 25 percent of children show no signs of swollen glands or pain while chewing, but they tend to follow the practical course of mumps. The typical course begins with fever, headache and vomiting. (x)
As mentioned above, fever is just a typical symptom in the course of the mumps. However, a fever associated with mumps is typically low-grade and has no cause for concern. In any case, a fever is the body’s number one way of fighting off bacteria and infection. (x)
- Pain and Swelling in Salivary Glands
Pain and swelling in the salivary glands is the telltale sign of laryngitis. Swelling is what gives an individual a hamster-like face. Generally, pain and swelling of the salivary glands occur without complications. Although it is painful and uncomfortable, it is not a severe issue. (x)
- Other Symptoms
Although the prevalence of mumps has decreased significantly, several other symptoms may occur. If you notice a young child with fatigue, body aches or low appetite, in combination with any of the symptoms listed above, be sure to consult a doctor. There is no antiviral for mumps, but the treatment of the symptoms may alleviate the discomfort.
Causes of Mumps
How one catches the virus is quite simple. The way to avoid contagion is to follow guidelines that prevent the germ from spreading, such as washing your hands, avoiding sharing personal items and isolating yourself when ill. (x) Some causes to watch for:
- Highly Contagious Virus
Mumps is among a number of everyday viral infections that are highly contagious. Although vaccinations are almost 100 percent effective, outbreaks still occur because of the severity of the infectious condition. Based on its contagious nature, outbreaks can become a severe issue. (x)
- Breathing Saliva Droplets
Saliva droplets may be hard to detect, but they are still there. Saliva droplets are any secretions expelled from the respiratory tract, the mouth and nose while talking, sneezing or coughing. These actions are the most common cause of mumps because it is the easiest way to contract the condition. Hence, the “say it, don’t spray it” rule is applicable.
- Sharing Cups and Utensils
Between saliva droplets and the severe contagiousness of the disease, it is vital not to share anything that comes into contact with the mouth of another individual. Sharing cups and utensils with others is a widespread cause of mumps. In turn, the saliva bacteria remain on the shared object, only spreading to other individuals. (x)
- Other Causes
Anything having to do with the mouth, nose, or saliva can easily cause mumps. In general, individuals with mumps are contagious for 15 days — six days before the virus shows symptoms and nine days after. Other causes of the mumps include sneezing, coughing and kissing.
Prevention of the mumps relies heavily on vaccinations and teaching your children not to share food, drinks, or utensils with others.
Mumps Remedies and Supplements
If you or your child has mumps, trying to get comfortable and relaxed enough to heal the body is vital. Try to talk to your healthcare provider before trying any new supplement. Consider these as options:
The easiest way to treat mumps is with home remedies. Garlic is one of the safest and most effective treatments for them. Garlic has antimicrobial effects that may provide pain relief and reduce inflammation. (x) You may apply garlic topically to the affected areas or ingest raw garlic whole or chopped, making sure to swallow the juices. The recommended dosage of garlic is up to 1,200 mg.
The elderberry is part of the honeysuckle family and produces an attractive berry-like fruit. This herb has natural properties that can strengthen the immune system. Elderberry helps explicitly decrease pain and swelling. For the most part, children and pregnant women should check with their doctor for recommended use of elderberry — some feel it’s not beneficial for them. You must check with your doctor before using it. The recommended dosage of elderberry is 1,000 to 3,000 mg daily. (x)
Where to Buy Supplements for Mumps?
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Apply Ice Packs to Swollen Areas
Other remedies for mumps include topical ones to reduce inflammation and swelling. Applying ice packs to the affected areas is a helpful way to decrease swelling. For children, they should use ice packs, accompanied by plenty of rest.
Other Remedies and Supplements for Mumps
The key to treat the symptoms of mumps is with oral remedies and other homeopathic treatments. Sometimes it is best to treat this condition like the flu with remedies including:
- Rest when feeling weak or tires
- Drinking plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration
- Eating soft foods that are easy to chew (to prevent pain while chewing)
- Avoiding acidic foods or drinks that may cause more pain in the salivary glands
The Bottom Line
Mumps is an actual condition that can become serious. You can ask anyone who was a child before the vaccine. They will tell you they had the mumps. It was an unpleasant experience, just discomfort for a week or so. Some of the consequences of untreated mumps may include orchitis, meningitis, encephalitis or even miscarriage for pregnant women.
Your swollen glands may seem like nothing to worry about, but it is best to take care of them as soon as possible. Consult your doctor if you suspect the mumps to determine the best treatment plan.
Consider taking supplements to help ease the discomfort and hopefully speed up recovery time.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.