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Feeling Unwell? Everything you need to know about Mumps

By HWResLife 14 Feb 2020

Feeling Poorly on Campus?

Feeling sick when you are away from home can be a miserable experience! Knowing what to do if you feel unwell can help you get back on the road to recovery as quickly as possible!


What is it?

Mumps is a contagious viral infection caused by a virus. Swelling of the parotid glands is the most common symptom of mumps. The parotid glands are a pair of glands responsible for producing saliva. They are located on either side of the face, just below the ears. More general symptoms often develop a few days before the parotid glands swell.

These can include headache, joint pain, feeling sick, dry mouth, mild abdominal pain, feeling tired, loss of appetite, a high temperature (fever) of 38 C or above. 

How does it spread?

Mumps is spread in the same way as colds and flu; through infected droplets of saliva that can be inhaled or picked up from surfaces and transferred into the mouth or nose. 

What to do if you suspect you may have mumps

It is important to contact your GP if you suspect mumps so a diagnosis can be made. While mumps is not usually serious, the condition has similar symptoms to more serious types of infection, such as glandular fever and tonsillitis. Let your GP know in advance if you are attending the practice, so they can make any necessary precautions to prevent the spread of infection. The University Health Centre can be contacted on 0131 451 3010. If you have not got a GP please call 111 for NHS assistance (this service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

If it is confirmed that you have  mumps, you can help prevent it spreading by:  

  • regularly washing your hands with soap and water
  • using and disposing of tissues when you sneeze
  • staying in your room in self-isolation for at least five days after the onset of swelling

How to protect against mumps

You can protect yourself against mumps by making sure you have received two doses of the combined MMR vaccine (for mumps, measles and rubella). If you are not sure whether you have had two doses of the MMR vaccine, please check with your parents first and then with your GP. If you have not had two doses of the MMR vaccine, please make an appointment with your GP to get vaccinated. We still recommend two doses of MMR even if you have previously had a single measles vaccine or measles and rubella vaccine. The MMR vaccine is freely available on the NHS and is the best protection against mumps. Some people may still get mumps after they have received two doses of MMR but they get a much milder illness and are less likely to suffer from any complications.



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