How is mumps diagnosed and treated?
How is mumps diagnosed?
Mumps is typically diagnosed according to the symptoms and the patient’s history of exposure to the virus. A blood test can also be conducted in order to rule out any other conditions and confirm mumps as the diagnosis.
A blood test for mumps does this by detecting the antibodies present in the immune system that are fighting off the infection. Different antibodies are created by the immune system for different conditions.
Mumps can also be diagnosed through the use of a viral culture test which uses a sample of saliva, urine or cerebrospinal fluid to test for the virus. However, viral culture tests are rarely conducted.
What is the treatment for mumps?
Due to mumps being a virus, the condition will not respond to antibiotics. Because of this, treatment follows a plan of medicating symptoms until the patient is not contagious. Rest and time are often the best treatments and little can be done by a doctor to help speed up the recovery. Certain steps can be taken to aid in easing the discomfort and pain and stop others from being infected.
The following are a number of steps that can be taken:
- Resting in bed until your fever comes down.
- Isolating yourself in order to prevent the disease spreading. If you have mumps you can be contagious for up to one week after the initial onset of the symptoms. The time it will take for the symptoms to show after you are infected can be between 12 and 25 days. This means that you or your child should stay home for at least five days after mumps has been diagnosed.
- Taking over-the-counter painkillers such as acetaminophen or anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen in order to ease the swelling. Caution should be taken when giving aspirin and other painkillers to children who have viral infections as this has been linked with the development of Reye’s syndrome. This is a serious, but rare condition which results in liver damage and swelling in the brain. Children who are in the recovery period from a viral infection or the flu and are taking aspirin, are often the most at risk.
- Using a warm or cold compress on the glands to help ease the swelling.
- Wearing an athletic supporter for tender testicles to help ease the pain.
- Avoiding foods that require large amounts of chewing and jaw movement. Instead, eat soups or soft foods such as oatmeal or mashed potatoes in order to ensure you are still receiving the nourishment needed for your body’s recovery.
- Avoiding sour food and drinks that can stimulate the production of saliva such as citrus juices or fruits.
- Drinking plenty of fluids in order to stay hydrated.