This is an inflammation of the salivary glands especially the parotids. It is "caused by some germ not yet discovered" and is so very contagious that one may have it on one side of the face and not "catch" it on the other side.
The swelling is just below and in front of the ear, and lifts the ear a little. The first evidence of the disease may be a sharp pain felt upon swallowing something sour, though the trouble may be preceded by a few days of fever and malaise. For about two days the swelling increases and the submaxillary and sublingual glands may become swollen. For another seven days the patient has a "swell time" and then the fever and swelling begin to decrease. The mouth can scarcely be opened and there is pain on swallowing when the swelling is at its worst.
Adults usually have more suffering with this disease than children. In some male patients the disease is said to "go down on them" when orchitis (inflammation of the testicle) develops in one or both testicles. This complication is supposed to result in sterility when both testicles are involved. The complication is due to wrong care. The same is true of vaginitis and the enlargement and tenderness of the breasts, which sometimes complicates the trouble in girl patients. Inflammation of the ovaries is a very rare complication.
COMPLICATIONS: Most medical authorities declare that mumps do not, endanger life and that all fatalities are due to complications. Heart disease, kidney trouble, arthritis and menengitis, are only a few of a formidable list of complications they describe. These are the complications that develop in all the other acute diseases of children and are due to suppressive treatment. "It should always be borne in mind," says Harry Clements, N. D., "when thinking of complications, that they too often wait, not upon the original disease, but upon the treatment of it." The way to avoid complications is to avoid the suppressive and "drastic cure-quick," methods of treatment.
CARE OF PATIENT: Rest in bed with warmth until the temperature is normal and the swelling is gone will hasten recovery. No food and no drugs should be given. There is nothing to the popular superstition that acids should not be taken during this time and if the child refuses to fast, orange juice or grapefruit juice may be used. The author had mumps when a boy and used lemon juice through the whole of the trouble.
As soon as the swelling has subsided fruit may be fed three times a day for the first three days, after which a gradual return to a normal diet may be made.
The above care will prevent complications, but if these have developed before this care is instituted, the fast should continue until all swelling and pain are gone.