Mumps is no longer a common childhood illnesses like it was fifty years ago. Since 1968, the MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccine has mostly eliminated the disease. The vaccine is not 100 percent effective however, and cases of mumps still exist.
The most noticeable symptom of mumps is swelling and soreness in the area below the ear at the back of the lower jaw. The swelling can be present on one or both sides.
A child with mumps will also have many flu-like symptoms; fever sore throat, headache, earaches, fatigue, and loss of appetite.
Complications of mumps are rare but can develop. Among these are encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), meningitis (inflammation of the covering around the brain and spinal cord), pancreatic infection, and hearing loss.
For boys over the age of 10, there is a risk that orchitis will develop. Orchitis is a painful inflammation of the testes that can cause sterility.
The virus that causes mumps is spread trough contact such as playing with a toy that an infected child just played with, or being coughed or sneezed on by an infected child.
If you think there is a possibility that your child has mumps, contact your physician. There is no medication to treat mumps but you can comfort your child and try to ease the symptoms in much the same way as you would with the common cold.
When your child is sick, make sure to watch for signs of complications. Meningitis signs are typically a very stiff neck and vomiting. Additionally, if the fever is too high or if any seizures occur, seek medical attention.