Viral infection of saliva glands (parotid and sub-maxillary), spread by droplets in coughs and sneezes. Not as infectious as measles or chicken pox, and more common in spring and summer. More than one attack is rare. Complications include encephalitis, Pancreatitis, and inflammation of the testes or ovaries. Despite folklore to the contrary, mumps seldom causes sterility or permanent damage to testes or ovaries. Incubation is 14-28 days. Infection onsets with moderate FeverHeadache, and pain in front of the ears as first one parotid gland then the other becomes swollen. The sub-maxillary glands beneath the jaw may also be affected. Glands subside within 10 days, during which time child remains infectious.

If child develops severe headache, shrinks away from bright light, or is stupid and drowsy, consult your doctor if there is no improvement in 2 hours as there may be a risk of encephalitis. If testicles or ovaries are painful, consult your doctor if there is no improvement in 12 hours and give Pulsatilla 6c every 4 hours for up to 10 doses.

Specific remedies to be given every 4 hours for up to 10 doses

  • Onset of fever, child very restless Aconite 30c
  • High fever, right parotid gland more painful than left, child red in face, eyes wide and staring Belladonna 30c
  • Saliva thick and sticky Pilocarpin mur. 30c
  • Sub-maxillary glands swollen and hard as stones, child complains of ear pains on swallowing Phytolacca 30c
  • Glands on right side of jaw most affected, saliva smells unpleasant, child sweaty, tongue lolling Mercurius 30c

Immunization: Mumps is now routinely immunized against in Britain as part of MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine. Homeopathy can offer Parotidinum 30c nosode or Rhus tox. 30c during incubation period. Dose is 1 daily for up to 10 days.

Self-help: Avoid acid beverages (lemon, orange, grapefruit juice, for example) as these painfully stimulate the saliva glands.

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  National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC)
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