RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — This past week, the N.C. Division of Public Health said it had found seven cases of the mumps in three counties — Wake, Orange and Watauga.
These cases have prompted North Carolina health officials to remind citizens to make sure that they are all up to date with their vaccinations.
- What are the mumps?
Mumps is a viral illness known to cause swelling of the salivary glands. The most common symptoms include fever, muscle aches, unusual tiredness, loss of appetite, headache, and swollen, tender salivary glands under the ears on one or both sides.
Mumps is spread through direct contact (coughing and sneezing) and saliva from an infected person.
Most people with mumps recover fully. However, mumps can occasionally cause complications, some of which can be serious. For example, mumps can lead to deafness, encephalitis, meningitis or sterility.
- What do we know about the mumps cases in N.C.? How are these cases of Mumps treated?
All cases were identified in April — both elementary and college students were among those affected.
- Get plenty of bed rest until your symptoms have passed
- Take over-the-counter painkillers, such as ibuprofen to relieve any pain
- Drink plenty of fluids, but avoid acidic drinks such as fruit juice as these can irritate your salivary glands; water is usually the best fluid to drink
- Apply a warm or cool compress to your swollen glands tohelp reduce any pain
- Eat foods that don’t require a lot of chewing, such as soup, mashed potatoes and scrambled eggs
- How can we prevent mumps?
Outbreaks have most commonly occurred in places where people have had prolonged, close contact with a person who has mumps, such as attending the same class, playing on the same sports team, or living in the same dormitory.
Before vaccinations, mumps was quite common in the U.S. Now, it is quite rare. Vaccination with the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine is the best way to prevent the disease. It is not 100 percent and it is still possible to get the disease if you are vaccinated, but it is rare.
Those who are vaccinated are less likely to develop complications related to the illness.
Other preventative measures such as hand washing and avoiding contact with others who are infected are important as well. A person with mumps should stay home from work or school and limit close contact with others for five days after the salivary glands first began to swell.