Ohio, Wisconsin, New York, Illinois, and even the National Hockey League have all fallen victim to at least small scale mumps outbreaks during 2014. This contagious disease typically starts with a few days of fever, aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite and is then followed by swelling of the salivary glands. Though there is no specific treatment for mumps (almost all care is supportive to help the patient ride out the disease), there is plenty that can be done to avoid contracting the virus.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health, and other organizations, vaccination is the best method to avoid the mumps. Studies have shown that 85 percent of people who receive two mumps vaccinations will be adequately protected from the virus. While some theorize that these new outbreaks are a different variant that is immune from the vaccine there is, as of now, no evidence to support this although the CDC continues to investigate these new cases.
If you are vaccinated and do still contract the mumps, much like flu symptoms, the symptoms of the mumps can be lessened by having been given the MMR vaccine. While it still may be possible to contract the virus, your body will be more protected if you are vaccinated.
Flu Prevention is Mumps Prevention
Everything that you would normally do to avoid the flu will also be very effective in avoiding mumps. Though the virus has only been found in a few isolated groups in North America, the tips below are all generally good practices that can help you avoid the flu just as much as mumps:
- Be sure to regularly wash your hands with soap and water
- Sneeze and cough into a tissue or your elbow to avoid spreading the disease through airborne particles
- Avoid sharing drink, food, and utensils; these can all carry the flu or mumps viruses
Watch for symptoms
Unlike many viruses, it takes about 16 to 18 days to show symptoms of mumps. If you begin to show signs of mumps, contact a healthcare professional. Mumps can potentially have serious complications if it goes untreated, so it should be taken seriously. Additionally, once you have contracted the virus, it can take anywhere from 12 to 25 days for your body to heal. Starting the treatment as early as possible will help get you back on your feet in a more timely manner.
If you do come down with the mumps, please stay home! Like the flu, mumps is very contagious, but, unlike the flu, it can last for weeks. Keeping friends and coworkers healthy should be a top priority if you come down with the virus. Though many will hopefully be protected from the disease through vaccination, don’t risk it! Stay home, do what you are told by medical professionals, and you should hopefully feel better soon.
For any additional questions about the mumps or the MMR (Measles-Mumps-Rubella) vaccine, visit the Passport Health website.
Have you experienced the mumps? What additional suggestions might you have for avoiding the virus? Comment below or on our Facebook page with your thoughts.