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Are The Mumps Making a Comeback?

Written by Courteney

Posted on March 10, 2017 at 1:00 pm

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Do you remember seeing the pockets of hockey players becoming infected with the long-unheard-of mumps in the news recently? It’s true – according to the CDC, the mumps is making a vehement comeback, reaching a 10-year high. It is highly contagious and can spread through saliva or respiratory droplets. But if you were vaccinated against the mumps as a child, you have nothing to worry about, right? Not necessarily. Did you know the vaccine wears off after about 15 years? Therefor, it is important to go back and get that second one to ensure you keep this highly contagious illness at bay.

What Are the Symptoms to Look Out For?

Symptoms of the mumps include:

  • Aches and pains
  • A fever
  • A persistent headache
  • Cold-like symptoms
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling of the testicles or ovaries
  • The signature ‘chipmunk cheeks’ caused by swelling of the salivary glands.

The mumps often resolves itself after a period of significant discomfort, but sometimes there are unfortunate lasting effects such as infertility or deafness. It can also lead to an infection around the brain (meningitis), which can be deadly.

Who Is Primarily Affected by the Recent Outbreak, and Why?

The mumps can strike anyone (who isn’t already immune to the disease), but recent outbreaks appear to strike young adults more often. The reason? One of two. One: the infected young people weren’t vaccinated to begin with or, two: they happened to be born between the early 1970’s and 1994, before a second vaccination in adolescents became common practice. This age group comprised a small gap in the herd immunity that wouldn’t have received their second mumps vaccination. So, what’s the best way around this? To check out your medical record and see if you fell in the category of people who didn’t receive their second immunity shot, and if you did, go get yours today!

How Can the Mumps be Prevented?

Unlike some diseases, outbreaks can be rather silent and unpredictable because they are most contagious and spread quickly during their incubation period before symptoms even show up. So, how to protect yourself against an unpredictable disease? While the measles mumps vaccine isn’t 100% proof against the diseases, it does have a very high effectivity when both doses are taken appropriately. Therefor, getting yourself and your family vaccinated is simply the best protective measure you can take against diseases like the mumps or measles.

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