Mumps is a highly contagious disease that results from a viral infection. The most visible symptom linked to mumps is the tender and swollen section on the sides of the face, just below the ears. This characteristic swelling gives the patient a distinct ‘hamster face’ that is easy to recognize. This appearance is the result of the swollen parotid glands located beneath the ears. Other symptoms include fever, headaches, joint pain, poor appetite and general body fatigue. These symptoms sometimes have an earlier onset, coming in before the swelling manifests.
Mumps is very contagious, and is spread similarly to the flu and common cold. When one comes into contact with infected saliva through inhalation, or transfers their hands from a contaminated surface to the mouth, it is easy to contract the disease. The most sensitive period is usually just a couple of days before the symptoms manifest. The severity of the condition varies from one individual to another depending on whether they have had mumps vaccination before. As a general guide, children can be protected from mumps by a combined vaccine, the MMR (abbreviated Mumps, Measles and rubella) offered to babies at about 12 months, so that even after infection, the disease presents itself in a mild format.
Mumps is a viral infection, and as such, does not have any specific medication. It is however, important to seek medical diagnosis for professional follow up and prevent further complications. The viral infection typically clears after a week or two, but there are home remedies which can help relieve the symptoms and help speed up recovery. Use any of the home remedies indicated below for the management of mumps.
1. Raw Ginger:
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: Fresh ginger root/ ground ginger, pestle and mortar, clean towel, warm water and tea (optional).
Raw ginger is a key home remedy recommended for the management of mumps. The herb is used because it is a potent anti-inflammatory which provides pain relief from the swollen saliva glands located below the years. Studies also show that ginger is rich in antiviral properties, which helps clear the viral infection responsible for the disease. You may apply the ginger topically or prepare a warm cup of ginger tea to ease the pain and discomfort.
- Peel and chop the fresh ginger before grinding using a pestle and mortar.
- Grind the herb until you have a smooth paste.
- You may use ginger powder in place of the fresh herb. If you opt to use the ginger powder, mix it with a little water to create a paste.
- Apply the paste (you may leave a portion of the paste to prepare the tea) on the swollen glands and massage carefully as the glands tend to be very tender and painful.
- Let the paste dry on its own for about 10 minutes.
- Soak the towel in warm water and use it to gently wipe off the paste.
- Compliment the healing benefits of ginger by preparing ginger tea.
- Simply steep 1 teaspoon of the ginger paste in water and then strain.
- Drink the tea thrice daily to ease the pain and manage mumps symptoms.
2. Neem Leaves:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: A handful of neem leaves, some warm water to prepare the paste, 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder and a clean towel.
Harness the healing powers of neem, also known as Indian lilac leaves, to treat mumps and provide relief from the symptoms of the viral infection. The leaves are rich in antiviral properties which help manage the disease and speed up the healing process. The leaves also have anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the pain and inflammation around the swollen glands. Turmeric powder is added for its excellent anti-inflammatory properties that compliment neem’s healing properties. Prepare the remedy as indicated in the steps below.
- Wash the leaves well and transfer to a mortar.
- Crush the leaves well until you have a paste that you can use topically.
- Add some warm water too ease the grinding process.
- Add in the turmeric powder and crush some more so that it is evenly distributed.
- Apply the paste carefully on the swelling and allow it to dry.
- After 30 minutes, soak the towel in warm water and use it to get rid of the paste.
- Repeat this daily for a week to get relief from the inflammation and swelling.
3. Aloe Vera:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: A piece of freshly cut aloe vera leaf, a dash of turmeric, cotton wool and warm water. Aloe vera juice (optional)
Aloe vera is a timeless home remedy used for the natural treatment of a host of diseases. Mumps is no exception as the gel’s antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties are ideal for providing relief from the infection. The freshly squeezed gel also has a cooling sensation which is particularly beneficial for patients who are feverish following the development of the infection. Add turmeric whose healing properties work in synergy with the gel’s healing capacity.
- Slice the aloe vera leaf so that the succulent part of the leaf is exposed. This should make it easy for you to extract and collect the gel.
- Once you have collected enough gel, add the turmeric powder and stir to mix well.
- Soak the cotton wool in the now-orange gel and apply it on the swelling.
- Let the gel remain on the skin for 30 minutes before wiping off using cotton wool soaked in the warm water.
- You may use aloe vera juice in place of the gel in order to speed up the healing process. Note however, that this juice is not recommended for persons suffering from diabetes or who are on diuretic medication.
- Apply this remedy thrice daily until the symptoms subside and the infection clears.
4. Baking Soda:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: 1 Teaspoon of baking soda, some warm water to prepare the paste as well as to rinse it off.
Baking soda is a potent anti-inflammatory home remedy that goes a long way in reducing the swelling and tenderness associated with mumps. In addition to this, the baking soda is highly alkaline, which helps prevent the viral infection from spreading with ease. Simply prepare a paste for topical application as indicated in the steps below.
- Add a few drops of water to the baking soda and mix to form a paste.
- Apply the paste below the ears at the point where the swellings form.
- Let the paste remain on the skin for about 10 minutes.
- Rinse it off using warm water.
- Repeat this procedure twice daily until the swelling goes down and the mumps infection clears completely.
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 1/2 Cup of oatmeal, 1 cup of water, 1/2 cup of warm milk and dried fruit (both optional).
Mumps makes it difficult to chew and swallow food as the food applies pressure on the swollen glands and increases the pain. Due to the loss of appetite, mumps patients sometimes find it difficult to eat, and it becomes tricky to satiate one’s appetite for a considerable period of time. This is why oatmeal is recommended as a natural remedy for the management of mumps. The oatmeal is rich in proteins and soluble fibers, which provide adequate nourishment for the body. The fibers on the other hand, slow down the process of digestion and help ensure one feels full for a longer period of time. You may add milk and/or dried fruit to your bowl of oatmeal for a delicious snack.
- Place the oatmeal in a pan and pour in the water.
- Turn on the heat and set on low so that the oatmeal heats steadily.
- Add the milk after 5 minutes and let the oats continue cooking.
- Stir the oatmeal every now and then to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Turn off the heat after 10 minutes and sprinkle the dried fruit on the oats.
- This makes for a great meal option until the mumps infection clears.
- You may vary the meal by adding different fruits such as mashed bananas or diced apples.
6. Warm/Cold Compress:
Time Required: 20 Min per session.
What You Need: A basin containing hot water, a handful of ice cubes and a clean towel.
The swelling that characterizes mumps is often tender, inflamed and swollen. This combination of symptoms is best managed using a warm and cold compress alternately. The warm compress soothes the swollen glands and encourages blood circulation to the painful area. The cold compress on the other hand, keeps the swelling down and helps reduce the pain and inflammation. The two compresses are used alternately, and each session takes about 20 minutes.
NOTE: Do not place ice cubes directly on the skin because this is often associated with frost bite which damages the skin and adds to the discomfort.
- To prepare the warm compress, soak the clean towel in the hot water for a few minutes.
- Squeeze the excess amount of water and use this warm compress to massage the swelling tenderly.
- Do this for about 15 minutes or until the water towel cools down.
- Follow this up with the use of the cold compress.
- Place the ice cubes on the towel and wrap to create an ice pack.
- Use the cold compress to massage the swollen glands in circular motions.
- Take care not to apply too much pressure as this causes so much pain.
- Just as with the warm compress, use the ice pack for 15 minutes.
- Use the two compresses alternately, at least thrice daily until the infection clears and the swelling subsides.
7. A Balanced Diet:
Time Required: Varies depending on the specific foods
What You Need: Foods obtained from the three key groups (carbohydrates/proteins/fats) and drinking water.
When suffering from mumps, one of the most important things a patient can do is to ensure they get a balanced diet. This diet should comprise of carbohydrates, proteins, fats and healthy portions of fruits and vegetables. It is also important to stay hydrated by taking an adequate amount of water as this helps flush toxins from the body. It is important to mention however, that since this is not always possible owing to the swelling, a liquid diet is recommended. Broth is ideal as it is both nutritious and filling. Fresh fruit and vegetable juice is also recommended.
- Excellent sources of carbohydrates include rice, oatmeal and potatoes. The latter may be mashed for easy feeding. Protein sources include boiled eggs, fish fillet among others.
- The patient may also take healthy sources of fats such as mashed avocados.
- This must be accompanied by adequate drinking water.
- At the onset, vegetables and fruits may be juiced for a healthy option.
8. Get Adequate Rest:
Time Required: Varies
What You Need: A comfortable and quite place to rest.
Mumps is often accompanied by a feeling of tiredness and low energy levels. To deal with this and enhance the process of recovery, it is important to get enough rest. A quiet and comfortable place to rest is all you need.
- Get to rest during the day and ensure you get adequate sleep through the night.
Mumps is quite common in children, and occurs regularly in adults. The first line of defense is vaccination. When the infection does present itself, it is often mild and easy to manage using the aforementioned home remedies. Get medical checkup if the symptoms do not subside after a week or so.