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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:47 pm
Most children today are vaccinated against mumps when they're 12- to 15-months old with the M-M-R vaccine, which also protects against measles and rubella, also known as German measles. A booster shot is generally given at age 11 or 12. Although it's less common than it used to be, the disease hasn't been totally eliminated, and it can occur at any age. It's most common in children, and it can be more serious in an adolescent or adult, because of the risk of developing complications. Mumps is a highly-contagious viral infection of the salivary glands, located in front of the ears. Its early symptoms may resemble the flu and may include a fever, headache, sore throat, muscle aches, and fatigue. Within a couple of days, the salivary glands swell, and the fever and swollen glands may last a week or more. Because mumps is a viral infection, antibiotics aren't effective in treating it. Instead, symptoms are treated with a children's aspirin substitute. Cool compresses applied to the cheeks may help relieve pain. Be sure to keep utensils and dishes separate because of the danger of spreading the disease. For more information about mumps, contact a healthcare professional.

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