What is mumps? The viral infection explained

FOX 44

FILE- In this March 27, 2019, file photo, vials of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine sit in a cooler at the Rockland County Health Department in Pomona, N.Y. Research released on Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019, shows yet another reason to vaccinate children against measles. After a bout of measles, youngsters are more vulnerable to other germs _ from chickenpox to strep _ that they once could fend off. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Here is a short rundown on the viral infectious disease recently confirmed at two Louisiana colleges.

What is mumps?

Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus. It is transmitted through direct contact with saliva or respiratory droplets from an infected person.  

How does it spread?

  • Mumps spreads when an infected person:
  • coughs, sneezes or talks;
  • shares items that may have saliva on them, such as water bottles and cups;
  • participates in close-contact activities with others, such as playing sports; or
  • touches objects and surfaces that are then touched by others.

What are the symptoms? 

Mumps typically starts with a fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite; most people then develop swelling of their salivary glands, which causes puffy cheeks and a swollen jaw.

If any of these symptoms develop, even if they are mild, you should contact your health care provider or student health center immediately and stay isolated from others.

What can you do to prevent it?

On top of being up to date on immunizations, the Louisiana Office of Public Health gives the following tips to avoid the spread of mumps and other illnesses that are prevalent this time of year: 

  • Stay at home for five days after symptoms begin; avoid school or work settings. 
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. 
  • Don’t share eating utensils or food. 
  • Clean surfaces that are frequently touched (such as toys, doorknobs, tables, 
  • counters, etc.) with soap and water or with cleaning wipes regularly. 
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner. 

For more information, contact your health care provider or visit the Louisiana Department of Public Health website.

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