Q:  I am concerned because I have heard that mumps is moving north, and was recently found in a nearby community.  What am I supposed to be looking for?

A:  Mumps is a viral illness that causes painful swelling of the side of the face (parotid glands).  They are salivary glands between the ear and the jaw.  Mumps can spread to the testicles, ovaries or pancreas, and can even cause meningitis.  It is usually not a serious illness.  It is passed from getting coughed or sneezed on.  You can get it by touching people who have it, as well.  A vaccine can prevent it.  Most cases occur in people who were not vaccinated.  Mumps goes away on its own.  There is not a medication that will treat it, specifically.  To ease symptoms, using an over-the-counter pain medicine is helpful, like Advil or Tylenol.  A heat pack on the swollen jaw for 20 minutes will help.  Eat soft foods and avoid sour foods, because the salivary glands are sore with the disease.  People with mumps should stay in until 5 days after the swelling began, to avoid spreading it.

Dr. Rick Casey

Questions can be submitted directly to the providers, called in to Mercy Clinic at 417/876-5851 or submitted through their new App

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