Mumps is a common infectious disease which mostly affects children. However, in most cases it has a self-limiting course and improves with self care and medications to relieve symptoms.
Most people with mumps improve in a few days without any serious complications. The swelling of the salivary gland goes away in a week. If the symptoms fail to improve in a week or worsen suddenly contact your doctor for advice and treatment. According to doctors a person with mumps should not return to work, school or day care for about 9 days after the start of parotid swelling. However in some cases mumps may affect other organs such as testes, pancreas, brain and/or tissue covering the brain and spinal cord, ovaries, breast besides salivary gland and cause complications. Involvement of other organs and complications are more common among adults than children.
The common complications of mumps include:
Orchitis: It usually affects males who get mumps after puberty. Symptoms of orchitis include swelling and pain of the testicles. Other symptoms of orchitis include fever, malaise, lethargy, vomiting and headache. Severity of pain can range from mild to severe. It can cause shrinkage of testicles in about 50% of men and about 7-13% may experience reduction in sperm count. However it rarely causes infertility.
Oophoritis: Oophoritis or inflammation (pain and swelling) of the ovaries causes lower-abdominal pain, fever and vomiting. Symptoms of oophoritis usually improve with decrease in symptoms of mumps infection.
Pancreatitis: Presenting symptom of pancreatitis is the sudden onset of pain in abdomen. It is located in the centre of upper abdomen. Other symptoms which occur in acute pancreatitis are nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite and fever. In most cases pancreatitis associated with mumps is mild, but your doctor may recommend admission to give supportive treatment until the pancreas recover.
Viral meningitis: It is usually mild infection. Symptoms suggestive of viral meningitis are fever, sensitivity to light (photophobia), headache, nausea, vomiting, feeling pain and stiffness in the neck. The symptoms usually improve within 14 days and risk of serious complications is low.
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