Because Americans have been vaccinating their kids for mumps for so long, many of today's parents don't know a lot about this illness. After all, you probably don't know anyone who has had mumps, thanks to the rigorous vaccination schedule. Still, it's important to know the basics about this disease so you are confident that you're doing the right thing when vaccinating your child.
What is mumps?
Mumps is a viral disease. It's similar to measles, but it causes different symptoms. Usually, the first sign is a fever, which may be accompanied by a headache and muscle aches. Over the coming days, your child's salivary glands will begin to swell. This will cause the sides of the head, near the cheeks, to become inflamed, making your child look like a chipmunk. This swelling can be quite dangerous as it can interfere with your child's ability to breathe, swallow, and talk.
How is mumps spread?
Mumps is spread from person to person through mucous and saliva. If an infected child coughs and your child comes into contact with the aerosol or mucous, your child could come down with the illness. Mumps can also be spread by sharing utensils or touching items that have been touched by an infected person.
What can happen to a child who has mumps?
Mumps is not like the common cold. It does not usually just go away in a few days without leaving any lasting traces. Rather, it can cause serious or lifelong consequences for children who have been infected. Some children experience testicular or ovular inflammation that later contributes to infertility. Others experience damage to the ears that leads to temporary or permanent deafness. There are also children who experience inflammation of the brain, a condition that requires hospitalization and may be deadly.
How can you protect your child from mumps?
Mumps is not nearly as common as it once was, but that is because so many parents have vaccinated against the condition. Since most children your child comes into contact with have been vaccinated, the chance of being exposed to mumps is quite low. Still, since some parents these days are electing not to vaccinate, it's best that you do get your child vaccinated to protect from this illness. Keep in mind that by vaccinating your child, you are not only protecting your own child, but also other kids who he or she comes into contact with.
For more information or assistance, contact companies like Northeast Wyoming Pediatric Associates PC.