Avoid catching mumps in Cork this winter 2019
A guide to mumps and how to avoid catching it in Cork this winter.
This winter in 2019 has seen a spike in mumps at UCC and a rise of the virus across University campuses in Ireland this year.
As the local media recently reported that students at UCC are being warned about an outbreak of mumps this November 2019, we want to reiterate how important it is that you, and your children, are properly vaccinated. To avoid catching mumps, and other nasty viruses, such as measles or rubella, it’s important that you’ve had two doses of the MMR vaccine.
What is mumps and how do you avoid it in Cork?
Recently this November (2019), students have been warned of an increase in mumps activity at UCC. UCC Student Health Services raised the alert, to those studying and working at the University, that there’s been a significant rise in both flu and mumps. With mumps once again making headlines, we thought that it would be helpful to publish a guide about what mumps is and how you can avoid it.
Mumps affects the salivary glands, causing puffy cheeks and a swollen jaw, which can make it hard to swallow. Unfortunately, mumps is infamous for being highly contagious – and with good reason. With suffers typically being infectious for around eleven days, the virus can be easily spread.
Most frequently, mumps affects children. However, teenagers and adults who haven’t been vaccinated are also at risk of contracting the virus.
Avoid catching mumps with the MMR vaccine in Cork
In response to this winter’s outbreak at UCC, students are being urged to make sure they’re protected. Of course, the same applies to our children in Cork. Anyone who hasn’t had two doses of the MMR vaccine are particularly vulnerable to catching mumps.
To find out more about getting the MMR vaccine in Cork, click to contact us or call our Shandon Street store on 0121 430 4165. Your local pharmacists here at Irwin’s Pharmacies will be happy to answer your vaccination questions.
How do you catch mumps?
As an airborne virus, mumps can be spread in the same way that we catch a cold or flu. An infected person sneezing or coughing can release tiny drops of saliva into the air, which can then be inhaled by others, which spreads the illness.
An infected person can also spread the virus by touching surfaces, after wiping their mouths, such as desks or door handles.
To help prevent infection from touching surfaces, good hand hygiene is always a good idea. It’s also advisable to avoid sharing drinks, food and eating utensils, which also heightens the risk of an infected person spreading mumps.
Mumps can be spread so easily because an infected person is infectious from two days before onset to nine days afterwards. Typically, during an eleven day period, a person can be infectious even when not showing any visible symptoms.
What are the symptoms of mumps?
Initial symptoms of mumps are not dissimilar to flu symptoms. Symptoms start around two to three weeks after contracting the virus. Indicators that a person is infected can include:
- High temperature
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle and joint aches
After a couple of days from the initial symptoms appearing, some people develop earache. It can also be painful to chew and swallow. Tell-tale mumps swellings are the most recognisable indicator that you have the virus. Mumps usually involves swelling of one or both parotid salivary glands (in the cheek and jaw area).
Also, it’s always advisable to seek medical advice if you experience anything unusual like abdominal pain or swelling of the testicles. In cases like that, it may be necessary to exclude other potential causes.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms described above, it’s always a good idea to seek medical advice immediately. Contact your GP or call us here at Irwin’s Pharmacies on 021 430 4165 for advice from a trained medical professional.
Who is most at risk from mumps?
Put simply, anyone who hasn’t been properly vaccinated is at higher risk of contracting mumps.
As the MMR vaccine was only introduced across Ireland 30 years ago, cases of mumps still occur in adults who haven’t received the vaccine during a childhood immunisation program.
Today, the MMR vaccine is given as a single injection to babies, as part of their routine vaccination schedule, usually within a month of their first birthday. A second injection is then given at junior infant or primary school.
As the recent news of outbreaks highlight, outbreaks of mumps still occur today in people that haven’t been vaccinated.
To find out if you have been vaccinated, we advise that you check with your GP.
The good news is that, once you’ve had mumps, you usually develop a lifelong immunity to further infection. If you haven’t been vaccinated, but have experienced mumps already, you are considered at lower risk of re-infection.
How do you get the MMR vaccine in Cork?
The MMR vaccination is designed to protect us from mumps and other nasty viruses, specifically measles and rubella.
The MMR vaccine was introduced in Ireland in 1988. Since then, the numbers of children contracting the mumps, measles and rubella viruses has fallen dramatically.
The first MMR vaccine is given to babies by their GP, at age 12 months. The second dose is given to children at ages 4 – 5 years in infant, junior or primary school. All three viruses, mumps, measles and rubella, can have serious complications, so it is really important that your child is vaccinated against them.
Contact the Immunisation Office Cork
To get hold of a copy of your vaccination records, or to ask a question about vaccinations, contact your local Immunisation Office in Cork.
Phone: 022 58780
Write to: Immunisation Unit, HSE 2nd Floor, Mallow Primary Healthcare Centre, Gouldshill, Mallow, Co Cork.