Mumps or Parotitis is an acute communicable disease of viral origin. It is characterised by painful enlargement of the salivary glands and occassional involvement of the gonads, meninges, pancreas and other organs. This disease occurs more frequently in children between the ages of five and 15 years. It spreads from one child to another in schools. Babies are immune to this disease.
One attack of mumps will give immunity for life , except in rare cases. One person in ten may have a second attack. The disease is endemic in urban communities. Epidemics are relatively frequent and are confined to closely associated groups who live in orphanages, army camps or schools. The incidence of clinical mumps is higher in boys than in girls.
The onset of typical parotitis is usually sudden. It may be preceded by lack of appetite , chilly sensation, feverishness, sore throat and tenderness at the angle of the jaw. The pain is first felt under one ear with stiffness of the neck and jaw. There is a slight fever which subsides in three or four days. The swelling appears first under one jaw and then extends under the other jaw. The gland becomes tender on pressure. On account of the pressure of the swelling, the patient feels much difficulty in talking, in mastication and swallowing of food.
Mumps are caused by a virus which attacks the salivary glands of the mouth, particularly the parotid glands located on each side of the face just below and in front of the ear. The infecting organism is paramyxovirus. After a person is exposed to a case of the mumps, it takes about two weeks for the disease to appear. Improper diet is the root cause of trouble.
The child-patient should take bedrest for several days until the temperature returns to normal. He should be kept on a diet of fruit juices and other liquid foods. Orange juice diluted with warm water on 50 : 50 basis for few days will be especially beneficial. Other fruits and vegetables which can be used for juices are mosambi, apple, pineapple, grapes, and carrot. The child should be encouraged to take warm-wter enema daily duirng this period. Hot and cold fomentations should be applied after every two hours during the day for about 10 minutes, and should consist of two or three hot applications, followed by a cold one. The face should be cleaned with an antiseptic wash.
The patient should adopt an all fruit diet for a day or two, till the swelling has subsided and he can swallow food comfortably. Thereafter, he may gradually embark upon a well-balanced diet of natural foods, with emphasis on fresh fruits, raw and lightly- cooked vegetables and whole grain cereals.
Certain home remedies have been found beneficial in the treatment of mumps. The most important of these is the use of chebulic myrobalan ( Harad or haritaki). A thick paste should be made from this herb by rubbing in water and applied over the swelling. It will give relief.
The leaves of peepal tree are also used as an effective home remedy for this disease. These leaves should be smeared with ghee and warmed over a fire. They should then be bandanged over the inflammed part.
The use of the herb Indian aloe (ghee kunwar or musabbar ) is a well known remedy for inflammed and painful part of the body. A part of a leaf of this herb should be peeled on one side and sprinkled with a mixture of turmeric (haldi) and extract of Indian barberry (rasaut) and bandaged over the swelling after warming.
The seeds of asparagus (halon) are also valuable in mumps. The seeds combined with the seeds of fenugreek (methi) should be ground together to the consistency of a paste. This paste can be applied over the swelling.
The use of dry ginger (saunth) is considered beneficial in the treatment of mumps. It should be ground to a paste and applied over the swollen parts. As the paste dries, the swelling will reduce and the pain will also subside.
The leaves of margosa (neem) are also useful in the treatment of mumps.The leaves of this tree with little turmeric (haldi) should be ground into a paste and applied externally over the affected parts. It will bring good results.