There has been an increased number of cases of the contagious illness, Mumps in the South West this year.
Mumps is a highly contagious viral infection that you can catch through direct contact with an infected person, or through the air when they cough or sneeze.
Most people recover without the need for treatment but in some cases it can cause complications such as inflammation of the testicles or ovaries, and in rare cases, meningitis or deafness.
What are the symptoms?
Mumps is most recognisable by the painful swelling of the glands at the side of the face and under the ears but headaches, pain in your joints and fever are also common symptoms.
A person is most contagious a few days before the symptoms develop and for a few days afterwards. You can find out more about the symptoms of Mumps on the NHS.UK website.
When to see a doctor
It is important that if you think you may have Mumps, that you call your doctor to arrange an appointment for diagnosis and treatment. While Mumps isn’t usually serious, the condition has very similar symptoms to other infections such as glandular fever and tonsillitis.
If you suspect that you or a person you live with has Mumps, Public Health England advises that you stay away from lectures, exams and social gatherings for five days after the glands swell.
If you have Mumps, you can also help prevent it spreading by:
- regularly washing your hands with soap
- using and disposing of tissues when you sneeze
The combined Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine (MMR) is typically given to young children in two doses between the ages of nine months to six years. You need both doses of the MMR vaccine to be protected and there are no risks to your health if you get an extra dose. The vaccination is free and if you’re not sure you’ve received both doses, it is easy to find out by contacting your GP.
If you’re not registered with a doctor, you can register with the BU Student Medical Centre on our Talbot Campus. Or if you prefer, you can register with a doctor closer to where you live – find out more on the NHS website.
You can read the information about Mumps, measles and the MMR vaccine on our contagious diseases web page.