What are mumps?

   A person with mumps looks funny. At least one side of his face is badly swollen; perhaps both sides are. But you may be certain that he does not think he is having fun. His face is sure to hurt, and he is likely to have a fever and to feel very much like staying in bed.
   Mumps is caused by a tiny virus. The virus gets into some of the glands that produce the watery saliva in our mouths and makes these glands swell. Mumps is very contagious. The virus travels easily from person to person. A person "comes down" with the disease anywhere from 14 to 25 days after he has been exposed.
   Sometimes a person who thinks he may be coming down with mumps tests himself by trying to eat a pickle. If he has mumps, the sourness of the pickle is likely to hurt him a great deal. But eating a pickle is not at all a sure test.
   Mumps is called one of the children's diseases because most of the people who have it are between 5 and 15. But older people sometimes have it. No one, however, is likely to have mumps a second time.
   A person with mumps should stay quiet. Mumps is not a serious disease if the patient stays in bed and is well taken care of. It may be serious otherwise. The fever lasts from three to seven days. The swelling may last much longer. The disease is so contagious that, to avoid spreading it, anyone who has had mumps should stay at home for a week after the swelling has disappeared.