Mumps

Mumps are a very common viral infection that produces fever and swelling of the salivary glands.

What to look for

  • swollen, inflamed glands (above the angle of the jaw and occasionally under the tongue)

  • secondary inflammation of the testes, or of the ovaries or pancreas (adults and teenagers)

It is very easy to recognise when your child has the mumps. Once your child has had the mumps, the child will never get it again, having developed what is known as natural immunity. Children are required to be immunised against mumps before starting school if not already naturally immune.

Mumps is only mildly contagious and it is usually a childhood disease although adults and teenagers can contract it as well. In adults, the swelling of the testes should be checked out by your doctor because of a very slight risk of its causing sterility.

Causes

Mumps is caused by a virus and is transmitted through the air in droplets from a sneeze or cough, or by direct contact, it enters the body through the mouth or respiratory tract and then begins to affect the gland tissues.

Traditional Treatment

Call your doctor and make sure the child does not go to school until all the symptoms are gone.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Therapies -  No herbs specifically treat mumps, but to reduce swelling, try cleavers (Galium aparine) or Echinacea (Echinacea spp.). No herbs specifically treat mumps, but to reduce swelling, try cleavers (Galium aparine) or Echinacea (Echinacea spp.).

Homoeopathy - Always consult a Professional for appropriate dosages for children. A homoeopath may recommend Belladonna, Bryonia or Phytolacca. Always consult a Professional for appropriate dosages for children. A homoeopath may recommend Belladonna, Bryonia or Phytolacca.

Dietary Considerations

Avoid dairy products and citrus juices and have your child eat light foods such as soups, vegetables, and fruits.

Personal Care

  • Keep your child quiet; confinement to bed is not required.

  • An ice pack or a heating pad applied to the swelling may relieve pain.

  • A tea made from apple juice and cloves can help relieve painful swallowing.

Prevention

Because fighting the illness strengthens the immune system, many practitioners of alternative medicine believe it is better for an otherwise healthy child to contract mumps than to be vaccinated. But always discuss this with your child's doctor.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you suspect your child has the mumps.

  • your child has the mumps and has any other symptom

  • any teenage or adult male family member with the mumps has swollen testes