By Dr Harsh Sharma, DHMS, BHMS
What is Mumps or Parotitis
Mumps or parotitis is a contagious viral infectious disease that affects the salivary glands. It is caused by a paramyxovirus. The most commonly affected gland is the parotid gland. There are 3 pairs of salivary glands situated in the face. These 3 salivary glands are the parotid gland, the sublingual gland and the submandibular gland. All these glands have an opening or a duct opening into the mouth. The parotid gland is situated just below and slightly in front of our ears. That is why the most common symptom of mumps is swelling just below and around the ear.
Parotitis used to be quite a common disease till the mumps vaccine became a part of the routine vaccination process. The MMR vaccine is now a routine vaccine that is given to every child. The incidence of parotitis has reduced all over the world after introduction of this vaccine. Incidentally, the principle of vaccination is similar to that of Homeopathy. In a vaccine, a live attenuated virus or an inactivated virus is introduced into the body. This causes the body to produce antibodies against that particular virus. This allows the body to develop an active immunity against that virus which lasts for a lifetime.
Cause of Mumps or Parotitis
Mumps or parotitis is caused by a paramyxovirus. It spreads from one person to another through the respiratory tract. This may be through the saliva or nasal secretions. When an infected person sneezes or coughs, small droplets of these secretions are excreted into the air. Any person coming in contact or sitting nearby can inhale these droplets and get infected. It can also be spread by sharing utensils or towels. A person who has been infected can spread infection from approximately 7 days before he himself shows the symptoms and 8 days after the symptoms start showing. In fact an infected person is the most contagious before he or she starts showing symptoms of mumps.
Incubation period of Mumps or Parotitis
The incubation period of mumps can be 7-18 days. This means that a person may fall ill after as many as 18 days once he gets the infection.
Symptoms of Mumps or Paroititis
The most commonly seen symptoms of parotitis are-
- Swelling on the face just below and in front of the ear. It is almost around the jaw. This swelling usually starts on one side and may spread to the other side too. In some cases both sides get affected at the same time and in some cases, only one side is affected.
- Ear pain is also seen in some cases. This pain may occur while chewing or opening the mouth or even otherwise.
- Headache is also felt.
- There may be fever. Fever is usually low grade.
- There may be loss of appetite.
- The taste of mouth may be sour. There is dryness of the mouth and swallowing may be difficult.
- Body aches may also occur. Joint pains and generalized pain in the limbs is often seen.
- Having parotitis during pregnancy can be dangerous and may result in a miscarriage.
Complications of Mumps or Parotitis
Although it is not often that any complication results from mumps or parotitis, but in a few cases following complications are seen.
- Orchitis- swelling and inflammation of the testicles may be seen in a few cases. This can further lead to sterility. Testicular inflammation is usually one sided and often occurs about 10 days after the parotid gland is inflamed.
- Oophoritis- inflammation of the ovaries may occur in females though this does not have any impact on the ovulation. It is only during pregnancy that it can result in a miscarriage.
- Pancreatitis- inflammation of the pancreas may also result from mumps.
- Meningitis is a rare complication but can occur all the same.
- Hearing loss is an even rarer complication.
Treatment of Mumps or Parotitis
Since this is a viral disease, there are few allopathic medicines that can be of any help. All the allopathic system of medicine can do in this is to give painkillers or something like paracetamol to relieve fever. The complete line of treatment in allopathy is aimed at providing some symptomatic relief till the whole illness has run its own natural course. It is left to the natural immunity of the body to fight the infection.
Homeopathic treatment of Mumps
Homeopathic treatment of mumps is vastly superior to allopathic treatment. This is because the homeopathic medicines aid the natural immunity to fight the infection itself and not just provide symptomatic relief. The natural immunity of the body which has been overwhelmed by the paramyxovirus is strengthened and it is able to fend off the infection much more quickly.
Homeopathic medicines for Mumps or Parotitis
There are dozens of medicines in homeopathy which can be used to treat mumps. The final choice of the right medicine depends on the matching of the symptoms as a whole. The patient’s symptoms must match that of the medicine to be given. Only then the medicine will be able to work efficiently. This tedious task of matching symptoms of the medicines to the patient’s symptoms ought to be left to an experienced homeopathic doctor.
Having said that, a small list of 5 best homeopathic medicines for parotitis is being given below. A brief description of their symptoms is also being given to familiarize readers with the symptoms and how they are matched. This does not in any way mean that you should resort to self – medication. It is best to seek the help of an experienced homeopathic doctor to treat parotitis.
5 best Homeopathic medicines for Mumps or Parotitis
Cistus Canadensis- best homeopathic medicine for mumps with hardness of glands
Silicea- best homeopathic medicine for mumps with suppuration
Belladonna- best homeopathic medicine for mumps with high grade fever
Pulsatilla- best homeopathic medicine for mumps with spread to breasts
Hamamelis-best homeopathic medicine for mumps with spread to testicles
Here is a brief description of the medicines mentioned above-
1. Cistus Canadensis – One of the best medicines for mumps with hardness of glands.
It is one of the best homeopathic medicines for mumps when the patient has hardness of the affected gland. The pains are neuralgic in nature. The pains are relieved by perspiration. There is great sleepiness along with other symptoms of swelling of the parotid glands.
2. Silicea- best medicine for mumps with suppuration
It is one of the best homeopathic medicines for parotitis when there is pus in the affected area. There is roaring noise in the ears. A whitish opening of pus may be seen on the surface of the skin. There is chilliness and sensitivity to cold air. The hands and feet seem cold even when in a warm room.
3. Belladonna- One of the best homeopathic remedies for mumps with high grade fever
It is one of the best homeopathic medicines for parotitis when there is high grade fever. The face is red, hot and flushed. Throbbing may be felt in the carotid arteries. All the senses like vision, heating and taste seem hypersensitive. The pains are also violent, start suddenly and stop suddenly.
4. Pulsatilla – Best medicine for mumps with spread to breasts
It is one of the best homeopathic medicines for mumps when the inflammation spreads to the breasts. The ear feels as if stuffed. The patient is thirstless and does not feel like drinking water. Chilliness is often felt. There is desire to be in the open air and cannot sit in a closed room.
5. Hamamelis- One of the best medicines for mumps with spread to testicles
It is one of the best homeopathic medicines for parotitis when the inflammation spreads to the testicles. The affected area feels sore and bruised. There may even be bluish discoloration of the affected parts.