Have you heard reports in the news about kids in Puyallup, Tacoma, and Auburn having the mumps? I don’t know about you, but when I heard there were mumps outbreaks, I was really startled, and a little freaked out. Fortunately, we have a connection to a whole team of board certified pediatricians through our lovely sponsors at Lakewood Pediatric Associates!
I hope you find these answers as helpful as I did! If you have a question you’d like to see addressed here, let us know!
What is mumps, and how concerned should parents be about the recent cases of mumps? Isn’t this an, “Old-fashioned,” disease-why is it back?
Mumps is a viral infection. It is not seen much any more because of immunizations; however it does pop up once in a while. The MMR shots are 88% effective if both are received, so it is possible for someone to have gotten the shot and still catch the disease; however, most do not. People who have not been immunized can get it more easily and spread it.
What can parents do to prevent their child from catching mumps?
Mumps is spread by close contact with saliva, so avoidance is the best preventative. Schools have made it a policy to exclude those children who are not immunized during an outbreak, only allowing them back after they have been immunized.
I read that most of the cases have been in children who had been vaccinated. Does this mean the vaccine doesn’t work?
There are many people who have been vaccinated, but since the vaccine doesn’t take in about one in 10 people, that turns out to be quite a few people who can get it. Also, some people’s immunity wears off with time. There would be many many more cases than the few dozen, (probably in the thousands) if the vaccine didn’t work.
What are symptoms of mumps, and what should parents do if they suspect their child has mumps or may have been exposed to mumps? How is it treated, and what is the prognosis for recovery?
Mumps starts out with fever, aches and headaches for a few days, then becomes obvious when the area of the cheeks in front of the ears begins to swell and be painful. Usually people begin to come down with illness about 2 and half weeks after exposure, and recover about 10 days after. There is no specific treatment for mumps, only managing the aches and pains and staying hydrated. Most recover without any complications. One of the complications that sometimes happens is swelling and inflammation of the testicles, which rarely leads to sterility. There are other more serious complications that are so rare, that we will not worry people about them. Needless to say, if an illness doesn’t follow a usual course, follow up with the doctor is recommended.
If an unvaccinated child gets the MMR shot, does it protect him/her right away?
Usually, an immunization takes about a month to be fully effective. We encourage you to keep your kids up to date with their shots.
Disclaimer: Your health decisions are your responsibility, and this post should not be substituted for care from your own doctor. You knew that, right? For more information about mumps in Pierce County, you can see this post from the Pierce County Health Department. As of now, there are just 27 probable cases. There has been a bigger outbreak in the Auburn area. More information on those cases, as well as fact sheets is here from the King County Health Department. We hope this post has reassured and informed you.
Disclosure: We are proud to have Lakewood Pediatrics as a member of our sponsorship team. Please do mention Sounds Fun Mom if you call them! Also-I know that isn’t a picture of an actual mumps virus. Thanks for not mentioning it. :). If you have questions about vaccinations in general, we encourage you to talk with your pediatrician.