The 2015 outbreak of mumps at the University of Illinois is a reminder that everyone should always be proactive about knowing their vaccination status and taking steps to be vaccinated, if necessary.
While mumps typically does not result in a serious health condition, it is a highly contagious viral illness that is spread by respiratory droplets, usually when the person coughs, sneezes or talks. Symptoms include fever, body aches, headaches and swelling of the salivary glands under the ears or jaw.
People with mumps are usually contagious from two days before to five days after they develop symptoms. Most people with mumps recover fully within one week. It is important to seek medical attention if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Body aches
- Swelling of the salivary glands
Check with your primary care provider to get your shot record and see if you need a boost of immunity. Some vaccines can protect you from multiple illnesses. MMR covers measles, mumps and rubella. Because mumps can be spread in much the same way as the flu -- most commonly spread through coughing and sneezing -- it is important that you take precautions to keep yourself, and others, well:
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don't have a tissue available, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
- Do not share eating utensils, cups, etc.
- Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of illness.
As always, the health and safety of the Ohio State community is the university's primary concern.