Mumps is also caused by a virus. The main symptom is a swelling of the salivary glands. This swelling can show up in:
* the jaw
* the cheeks
* the neck
The swelling is also accompanied by fever and headache.
Adults who get the disease are more likely to have serious complications. Complications can include meningitis, which is an infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord. In addition, mumps can result in a miscarriage in the first trimester of pregnancy . Males sometimes experience swelling of the testes as well.
Someone with mumps is contagious from about a week before symptoms appear until about nine days after they start. Once again, recommends the MMR vaccine to prevent mumps. Adults born before 1957 are again assumed to be immune.
Rubella is also called German measles. It usually isn't serious but it is very dangerous for unborn babies. The symptoms include:
* a rash
* a low grade fever
* body aches
Not everyone gets the rash. The incubation time for rubella is 2 to 3 weeks and someone is contagious from a week before to a week after symptoms appear.
If a pregnant woman is exposed to rubella, it can cause serious damage to her unborn baby, including birth defects and even miscarriages.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say birth defects can include:
* heart defects
* mental retardation
* liver and spleen damage
The American Academy of Family Physicians warns women who are of childbearing age to make sure they either had rubella or have been vaccinated.
Again, rubella is preventable with a vaccine, the MMR vaccine.