The mumps is a highly contagious disease characterized by swollen and tender salivary glands on the sides of the neck. Not only is the mumps miserable, but it can cause some pretty serious complications and life-long consequences.
Even being so young when contracting the mumps, Emma remembers it vividly. You can see the characteristic swollen glands in the photo even through she’s smiling.
“I was born in 1979, so too early to be vaccinated against mumps. It was only in 1988 that the UK introduced its first vaccine against the disease, the MMR.
As a three year old, I went to play-school a few times a week, where I could paint, play, and start to learn my letters and numbers. As well as an early education, I also picked up mumps and rubella. I don’t remember much about rubella, but I do remember mumps. It hurt. Swallowing was agony. My throat felt like it was on fire. And that was the first time. Because it was, apparently, a mild case, a few months later I caught it again.
The second time was worse. I remember crying for hours with the pain. Nothing helped. I could barely swallow liquid, let alone eat anything. Thirty-four years on, I remember it vividly.
Somehow, despite it being a common childhood illness, my Dad had never had mumps. He went to stay with his parents each time to try to avoid catching it, leaving Mum to care for me. She was pregnant with my brother,” Emma recalls.
Her mother had been through all these diseases as a child so she had built up immunity. She was, however, left visually impaired from the measles.
Emma’s two children are fully vaccinated. “I never want them to experience mumps, or any other disease that I can protect them from. That’s being a parent,” she says.
To learn more about the mumps: http://www.thevaccinemom.com/viruses/mumps/
And to learn about the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR): http://www.thevaccinemom.com/2014/02/measles-mumps-and-rubella-vaccine-mmr/