Paramyxoviruses include those viruses which cause respiratory infections in infants, young children and as well as the causative agents for mumps and measles, which are the common contagious infections in childhood.
Mumps is otherwise known as Epidemic Parotitis or Contagious Parotitis. It is an acute infectious and contagious viral disease characterized by inflammation and swelling of the parotid glands, and occasionally by inflammation of the testes, ovary, pancreas and meninges of the brain thus leading to meningitis in severe cases. Humans are the only natural host for mumps virus. It is transmitted via three methods: one, through direct contact with droplet nuclei; two, through airborne droplets; and three, through contaminated formites such as articles soiled with oral secretions. The incubation period of this infection usually lasts from 14 to 21 days and this is common among children 5 to 15 years of age. Immunity to this infection is permanent once experienced.
The pathognomonic sign of this infection is the swelling of the salivary glands which occurs in almost 50% of all patients. During the prodormal period of the infection, malaise and anorexia is evident and is followed by rapid enlargement of the parotid glands as well as the salivary glands. This enlargement of glands is usually associated with pain. Pain is usually at its worst when tasting acid substances. Before the swelling and enlargement of the parotid glands, headache and fever of usually 38° C is present.
Complications of this infection includes: orchitis, oophoritis, meningitis, pancreatitis and deafness.
It is an inflammation of the testes which occurs in pre-adolescent males having mumps infection. It is the most feared type of complication in males though not extremely painful but in rare cases may result to sterility.
It is the inflammation of the ovary but does not lead to sterility because the ovary has no limiting membrane that can swell when inflamed. Oophoritis is only common in 5% of women experiencing mumps infection.
Meningitis is due to the invasion of the virus in the meninges of the brain. The symptoms include fever, headache, vomiting and nuchal rigidity.
There is no specific treatment for this viral infection. The treatment done is to address or to alleviate the symptoms experienced by the client. Acetaminophen or Paracetamol is used to relieve pain, fever and discomfort experienced. Ice pack application over the affected parotid gland is done to relieve the pain and swelling. Lukewarm liquids and bland diet is prescribed to help in swallowing.
School nurses should be able to know if the child has completed his immunization which includes MMR (Mumps, Measles, and Rubella).If the child has not received his MMR when he was 15 months old, it is the nurse responsibility to educate the parents of children that mumps is preventable when the child is able to receive immunization with live attenuated mumps virus vaccine. It is also important to educate the parents of the child with mumps to isolate the child from other children without the disease. It is important to throw away or burn the tissue papers with secretions of the infected child than just allowing it to lie around. The nurse should also teach the child’s parents on how to alleviate the symptoms experienced by the child. These teachings should include ice pack application over swelling glands, warm-salt water gargles to relieve pain in swallowing and complete bed rest for further recovery.
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