Mumps is a highly contagious viral infection that usually affects children. The most common symptom of mumps is a swelling of the parotid glands. The parotid glands are located on one side, or both sides, of the face. The swelling gives a person a distinctive ‘hamster face’ appearance. Once a person has had mumps, they will usually develop immunity against further infections.

Two or three weeks after infection the symptoms appear, the most characteristic of these being large, egg-like swellings on either side of the neck just below the ears. Sometimes only one side is affected. Other symptoms are mild fever, earache, pain when eating and headache. Usually mumps is a fairly harmless condition and the symptoms go after a couple of days. Sometimes, however, the infection can spread to other glands, and in bad cases the testes, ovaries and pancreas become involved. There is usually no danger unless the child is around puberty or older when the ovaries become painful and the testes swollen and sore, and male sterility can occur. Permanent deafness may occasionally follow an attack of mumps. Treatment for mumps is therefore advised to make sure that your child doesn't become one of the unfortunate few. Adult males who haven't had mumps should avoid contact with the child, as the virus is passed through saliva and nasal droplets and through the air.

Before the introduction of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine in 1988, mumps was a common childhood infection that was responsible for 1,200 hospital admissions a year in England and Wales. After the MMR vaccine was introduced as part of the routine childhood vaccination programme, the number of mumps cases fell sharply, with less than a 100 cases reported in 1996. However, in recent years, there has been an upsurge in the incidence of mumps, and in 2005, there was a mumps epidemic that resulted in over 43,000 cases in England and Wales. Most cases affected teenagers and young adults. It is thought that this mumps epidemic was due to people in this age group not receiving the MMR vaccination, but also not having a natural immunity to mumps due to not having previously been infected. Another contributory factor is thought to be that some parents have chosen not to let their child have the MMR vaccine. Responcible parents should make it their business to find out ALL of the information available regarding the MMR vacine, before making their decision not to give it to their child.

The mumps virus is spread in the same way that the common cold and the flu viruses are spread. The mumps virus is airborne which means that it can survive for a short period of time in the outside environment. Therefore, mumps can be spread through:

  • direct contact - for example, if you sneeze, or cough, tiny droplets of fluid containing the mumps virus are launched into the air and can be breathed by others, and
  • indirect contact - for example, if infected droplets are transferred to an object, such as a door handle, and someone else touches it, they may catch the mumps if they then touch their mouth or nose.

The child should rest in bed and not be given acid drinks such as orange juice. Dryness of the mouth can be helped by using a mouth wash.

Use the following oils sprayed in the air with a plant-spray (new or clean) so that the essential oil molecules are inhaled by the child:

Tea tree
5 drops to 600ml water

Or mix a synergistic blend:


10 drops Tea tree
10 drops Lavender
10 drops Coriander
10 drops Lemon
Blend together

Make up a blend of oils using 30 drops of essential oil to 30ml vegetable oil and apply gently around the sore area, the back of the neck and the abdominal area. Use three times a day for ten days. The remaining 10 drops can be used in a room spray - 5 drops to half a pint or one cup of water.

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