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Updated: 4/11/2007 5:45 pm
Mumps is an acute viral infection of the salivary (SAL-uh-ver-ee) glands, located in front of the ears, which has almost been eliminated by vaccinations. Children 12- to15-months old may be given a mumps vaccine, which is usually part of the 'M-M-R' combination, a vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella (roo-BELL-uh). Symptoms include: fever, painful swollen glands below the ears or under one or both sides of the jaw, mild headache, stomachache, loss of appetite, earache, and listlessness. The fever and swelling can last up to six days. There's no cure for mumps, so treat the symptoms by applying cool compresses to the cheeks to help relieve pain. Give the child soft food and lots of liquids, but avoid citrus juices, which may be painful to swallow. Use only aspirin substitutes for pain, never aspirin. Mumps is highly contagious through direct contact and airborne droplets. Keep the child isolated from unexposed childreneven those who have been immunizedand take precautions to avoid the spread of the virus, such as hand washing and separating the child's utensils and dishes.
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