Mumps - Causes and treatment of parotitis

Mumps is a contagious disease caused by the Paramyxoviridae virus and located in one or both parotid glands. This condition is commonly known as mumps.

What is the parotid gland?

The parotid gland is one of the main responsible for the production of saliva in the body. It is located on both sides of the face just above the jaw and below the ear. This salivary gland can suffer from various types of disorders, such as the aforementioned parotitis or others less known such as sialadenitis and sialolithiasis.

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How is the Paramyxoviridae virus transmitted?

This infection is transmitted by inhaling saliva droplets in the air from people previously infected with this virus. It has an incubation period of 2 to 3 weeks, so it is usually not easy to determine the moment of infection.

Who is usually affected by mumps?

Parotitis is a common childhood illness, although adults can also get mumps.

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What are the symptoms of Parotitis?

Mumps can cause inflammation of the salivary glands, pain when chewing or swallowing, fever, headaches, muscle aches, and even loss of appetite. This viral disease can also affect other glands in the body and even the testicles.

How is mumps treated?

There is no effective treatment for parotitis, so you generally have to wait for the disease to pass naturally. During those days, the use of paracetamol is usually recommended by the patient, which will help reduce pain and fever, making the disease more bearable. Mumps usually lasts about 15 days and does not usually leave serious sequelae, except for infertility in some cases of involvement of the testicles.

Can parotitis be prevented?

The MMR vaccine is commonly administered in children during the first year of life and must be repeated at the age of 6. This vaccine confers an active immunity against mumps, measles and rubella, making it the most effective form of prevention against any of these diseases.

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Other disorders of the parotid gland

As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, mumps is not the only condition that affects the salivary glands. Some of the most common are sialadenitis and sialolithiasis, a salivary duct obstruction, such as a salivary stone, can lead to a bacterial infection of a salivary gland, with symptoms such as swelling, pain, erythema, and tenderness. If the cause of the obstruction of the salivary ducts is a stone, it must be removed to restore normal flow of saliva.

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