Mumps is a disease which affects the glands which produce saliva. These glands resides at the back side of each check, and as result of infection, these glands can be swollen and painful. Mumps mainly spread through saliva, and the swelling and pain could spread to more areas of your body. The vaccine for this disease was found in 1967. Thus, the number of infected people, per year, has come down to mere thousands. Most cases of mumps infection still occur among children from 5-14. Also, mumps is considered to be rare in kids below 1 year. Moreover, once affected, your kid will get lifelong immunity against mumps.
Mumps may start with a fever as high as 103 degree Fahrenheit (39.4 degree Celsius), and in the next step, his cheeks may become huge, looks like food in his cheeks. Also, he'll have increased pain in the parotid glands; and this pain may get accelerated at the time when he eats, talks or drinks acidic juices like orange juice. However, it should be noted that, sometimes it can affect other groups of saliva glands other than parotids, that time, the swelling and pain may appear at under the tongue or jaw, or even on the chest.
You should also be aware of two rare complications which can arise due to mumps, one is Encephalitis and other one is meningitis. Former happens due to inflammation of the brain and later due to inflammation of lining of brain and spinal cord. As indicated earlier, these two are rare cases, still, be warned when the usual symptoms occur along with high fever, stick neck, headache, nausea and vomiting, drowsiness, convulsions and any other symptoms involves brain. Another important aspect of mumps is that, there are infections without any outer display of symptoms, 1 in 3 cases could in such way.
Mumps is highly contagious; it could spread in many ways, sneezing, coughing or even laughing could transmit the virus to any other person comes in contact. Moreover, it is most contagious, during the period, 2 days before the symptoms begin and 6 days after they end.
We have already mentioned about the vaccine, and, which is the best way to prevent this. This vaccine is given as part of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) immunization and the first dose is usually given for kids between 12-15 months of age, and the second dose for an age between 4-6 years old.
Kids may recover from mumps within 10-12 days time.
Now, if you doubt that your kid has mumps, call your physician immediately, and the doctor will be able to diagnose for any complications. Since it is a virus induced disease, antibiotics can't be used to treat this. It is advised to keep the kid in your house itself, constantly monitoring his temperature.
Another home treatment, give him either hot or cold packs to sooth the swollen parotid glands. Make sure that his food is soft enough so that he won't have to chew excessively. Give plenty of fluids, but stay away from all sorts of acidic drinks, be it orange juice, lemon juice etc. Instead give him plenty of water, tea etc.