Mumps in pregnancy can be dangerous, with an increased risk of miscarriage in the first 12-16 weeks.
Diagnosis of mumps
A doctor will diagnose mumps from the symptoms a patient has, especially the swollen glands.
Blood, urine or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) tests may be taken to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment for mumps
There is no treatment for mumps itself, but age-appropriate painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen may help relieve some of the symptoms.
A cold compress such as a moist flannel may help relieve some of the pain from the swollen glands.
Resting and drinking plenty of fluids may be advised, as well as having food such as soup that doesn't need to be chewed.
Always seek medical advice if you suspect mumps. GPs need to know about cases of mumps so that public health authorities can help stop the infection spreading.
To help prevent spreading the virus, anyone with with mumps should be kept away from school, university or work until five days after symptoms begin.
The same precautions used in cold and flu prevention help stop mumps from spreading: proper hand washing and using a tissue to catch sneezes, then putting it in a bin straight afterwards.
If someone has already had mumps as a child, they usually have lifelong immunity, although second infections have been known.
The number of children having the MMR ( measles, mumps and rubella) jab fell for some time after a false scare about safety of the vaccine - which was later discredited. As a result of this, there are teenagers and young adults who didn’t have the vaccine in childhood who are at risk if they don’t get a catch-up jab.
Cases of mumps have been rising. There were 468 confirmed cases of mumps in the first quarter of 2012, compared to 273 in the last quarter of 2011. Cases were mostly in young adults born between 1980 and 1994.
Vaccination against mumps may also advised if travelling to parts of the world where it is more common.
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