In the past few months the mumps have been a hot topic in mainstream media, mostly because of small outbreak of cases that affected several NHL players. I am sure most of you saw the images of Sidney Crosby’s swollen face either in the newspapers or on television.
The mumps is simply a viral infection that most often affects the parotid glands in the face. The parotid glands are salivary glands that are located just below and in front of the ears. One or both parotid glands can be affected.
Until modern vaccinations, the mumps was a common condition in North America. However, since the introduction of routine vaccinations, the number of cases has significantly dropped. Thus, the probability of catching the mumps is very low.
The mumps virus is usually spread from person to person through infected saliva. Therefore, it is important that you let your doctor’s office know that you suspect the mumps before going to the clinic so they can take the necessary precautions.
Also, cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing and avoid sharing eating utensils and the like.
The symptoms associated with the mumps can vary from person to
Some individuals that are infected with the mumps may not exhibit any signs or symptoms at all. Others may develop mild to severe symptoms.
In most cases the symptoms develop about two to three weeks after exposure to the virus.
Symptoms may include swollen parotid glands, fever, headache, weakness and fatigue. The most common and well-known symptom is swollen salivary glands, which cause the cheeks to puff out giving the characteristic swollen face associated with the mumps.
Other less common symptoms include severe weakness, fatigue and loss of appetite.
In rare cases, the mumps may cause inflammation in other parts of the body such as the testicles in males and ovaries and breasts in females. Swelling of the brain and spinal cord have also been documented.
It is important for pregnant women to avoid contact with a person infected with the mumps. Although the scientific evidence is not conclusive, there is an association between the mumps and miscarriages.
If you suspect that you have contracted the mumps, it is important to consult with a doctor.
It is important to rule out any other condition that could be causing similar symptoms.
For example, inflamed tonsils or a blocked salivary gland may produce symptoms that may be mistaken for the mumps.
There is no specific treatment for the mumps. Just like other viral infections, antibiotics are not effective. The virus must naturally just run its course.
In most cases, patients recover fully with in two weeks. Most experts agree you are no longer contagious one week after being diagnosed with the mumps.
Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen may be used to help ease the pain and symptoms. However, it is best to consult with physician before taking any medications.
Until next month, drive safely.
Dr. Christopher H. Singh runs Trans Canada Chiropractic at the 230 Truck Stop in Woodstock, Ont. He can be reached at 519-421-2024.
Sonia Straface is the associate editor of Truck News and Truck West magazines. She graduated from Ryerson University's journalism program in 2013 and enjoys writing about health and wellness and HR issues surrounding the transportation industry. Follow her on Twitter: @SoniaStraface. All posts by Sonia Straface