Approximately one-fifth of infected people do not have any symptoms of mumps, so they are not even aware that they have the disease.
Diagnosis of mumps is usually based on the symptoms, especially the swelling of the salivary glands in either or both cheeks (the parotid glands). Various laboratory tests may help with the diagnosis, but they are usually unnecessary.
In some cases, if your doctor suspects that you or your child has mumps, a virus culture or serologic blood test may be needed. This blood test can detect mumps antibodies, which indicate whether you have had a recent or past infection of the disease.
If you suspect that you or your child has mumps, then contact your doctor as soon as possible to avoid the risk of developing complications or spreading the disease.
Because mumps is caused by a virus, it cannot be treated with antibiotics. Like most viral illnesses, a mumps infection (in the vast majority of cases) can simply be left to run its course. Fortunately, most children and adults recover from an uncomplicated case of mumps within 2-3 weeks.
Even in developed countries, there are misguided and misinformed people who refuse vaccination for themselves and/or their children. To protect these foolish people, and visitors to your area from other countries who have not been vaccinated, contact should be limited until a medical diagnosis has been established excluding mumps, or 4 days have passed since the symptoms have passed.
Usually, all that is required for mumps sufferers is treatment of their symptoms, with paracetamol, regular rinsing of the mouth, and plenty to drink. You should let your doctor know that you or your child has mumps, but unless complications appear, your doctor will not necessarily need to see you. Your doctor may notify the health authorities to keep track of childhood immunization programs and mumps outbreaks.
Isolate yourself or your child to prevent spreading the disease to others.
At home, it is important to regularly monitor the sufferer’s progress and to check for the onset of any complications before they become serious. The sufferer’s temperature should be monitored, and a record kept of the readings, dates, and times. If the temperature climbs above 101 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 degrees Celsius), then seek medical advice.
It is safe to use non-aspirin fever medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, to bring down a fever. These medicines will also help to relieve the pain caused by swollen parotid glands.
WARNING DO NOT USE ASPIRIN. Unless instructed by your child’s doctor, don’t give aspirin to a child who has a viral illness since the use of aspirin in such cases has been associated with the development of Reye Syndrome a serious and potentially deadly encephalitis-like illness. Instead, acetaminophen and ibuprofen may be used safely.
You can also soothe swollen parotid glands with either warm or cold packs.
Serving a soft, bland diet that does not require a lot of chewing and drinking plenty of fluids are also very beneficial for mumps sufferers.
Tart or acidic fruit juices (like orange juice, grapefruit juice, or lemonade) can temporarily increase parotid pain, so they should be avoided. Water, decaffeinated soft drinks, and tea are better beverages for mumps sufferers.
When mumps causes pain and swelling of the testicles, consult your doctor immediately. Your doctor may prescribe stronger medications to deal with the pain and swelling. They may also provide instructions to enable you to apply warm or cool packs, which can help soothe the area, and also tell you how to provide extra support for the testicles.
A child with mumps doesn’t need to stay in bed, but may play quietly. Your doctor will be able to advise the most appropriate time for your child to return to school.
Mumps can affect the brain and its membranes. If the mumps sufferer has a stiff neck, convulsions (seizures), extreme drowsiness, severe headache, or changes of consciousness, then consult your doctor immediately.
Also, abdominal pain can indicate complications in the pancreas in either sex, or complications in the ovaries in females. If these symptoms occur, seek immediate medical advice.