This article will provide information about mumps.
The Health Protection Agency has recently reported an increase in the number of cases of mumps in teenagers and young adults throughout the UK.
If you are aged between 18 and 25, there’s a very good chance that you’ve only had one dose of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine*. You need two doses of MMR to be properly immunised. There have recently been outbreaks of mumps among teenagers and young people because they have not been fully protected.
What are mumps?
Mumps is an acute viral illness that causes fever, headache and painful swollen glands. It is spread from person to person by coughs and sneezes. It can also be transmitted by direct contact through saliva.
It can cause viral meningitis and permanent deafness. Much rarer, but very painful complications of mumps, are inflammation of the pancreas and of the ovaries and testicles.
Preventing mumps through vaccination
The only effective way to prevent mumps is to have two MMR vaccinations. If you don’t know if you’ve had MMR before, having more than one or two doses won’t do you any harm.
Think you have mumps?
If you think you may have mumps contact your GP immediately by phone. Patients are advised not to visit their local pharmacy or GP if they suspect they have mumps.
Local GPs and medical advice
You can also get advice on minor ailments such as bugs and viruses, minor injuries and aches and pains from your local community pharmacy or chemist. For more information on pharmacists and when they might be able to help visit PharmacyFirst.
*The MMR vaccine was first introduced into the UK in 1988 for all babies over one year of age. The second dose, given at 3-5 years of age, wasn’t introduced until 1996. This means that there is a large group of people in their late teens and early twenties who will have received only one MMR injection, so it is important that you have MMR now.
If you’re not sure if you ever had MMR before, then you should have one dose now and make an appointment to have a second dose in three months time. Even if you have had one or two doses in the past, having more won’t do you any harm.