Symptoms of mumps usually start after an incubation period of about 16-18 days. Symptoms in most people clear up completely in about 10 days without long-term complications. Duration of illness may prolong if you develop complications.
Mumps is a contagious viral disease. It causes painful swelling of the parotid glands and other symptoms, such as fever, malaise, lethargy, nausea and vomiting and headache. Parotid gland is one of the major salivary glands that is located in the cheek on both the sides near the jaw line just below the ears. The disease can occur at any age, but is most common in children and teens.
Expected duration of mumps
Symptoms of mumps usually start after an incubation period of about 16-18 days. Incubation period is defined as the time from initial infection (after being exposed to an infected person) to symptoms. This period may vary from 12-25 days.
Most cases of mumps have an uncomplicated course and the prognosis is excellent. The symptoms in these cases clear up completely in about 10 days without long-term complications. Infection with mumps provides life-long immunity i.e. after recovering from mumps, you will be immune to infection for the rest of your life.
Duration of illness may become prolonged if you develop complications. The risk of complications increases in people, who have mumps after puberty. Some of the common complications of mumps infection include:
- Orchitis: Orchitis or inflammation (pain and swelling) of testes usually appears 7 to 10 days after the salivary gland swelling. Some males develop pain and swelling of testes at the same time. In most cases, the symptoms of orchitis because of mumps generally last three to seven days.
- Oophritis: It causes lower abdominal pain because of inflammation and swelling of the ovaries (oophoritis). Symptoms of oophritis usually start a few days after the salivary gland swelling. In most cases, the symptoms subside in a week.
- Pancreatitis: Inflammation of the pancreas is known as pancreatitis. In most cases, the inflammation is mild and the symptoms include pain in the centre of upper abdomen with or without nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite and fever. The symptoms start a few days after salivary gland swelling and in most cases improve in a week or two.
- Viral meningitis: Mumps may cause inflammation of the tissues covering the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms of meningitis usually develop 3 to 10 days after salivary gland swelling (called parotitis), but may start before other symptoms of mumps appear. In some cases, the symptoms of meningitis may start several weeks after the symptoms of mumps fade.
In general, the time needed to recover from any complication is influenced by many factors including the severity of complication, your overall health and immunity.
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