USA Today is reporting there have already been 1,242 reported cases of mumps this year. While this might seem like small number for such a big country, you have to remember that it's only March. States such as Illinois, Washington, and Oklahoma have seen upticks in cases since 2017 kicked off. Health officials are reportedly concerned about how high the number has gotten so early in the year. The increase isn't super surprising, though, considering 2016 had the highest number of cases in 10 years with 5,311 mumps cases.
Mumps is preventable by vaccine, but if you haven't been vaccinated you should definitely be on the look out for symptoms. The symptoms for mumps include fever,headache, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite, and enlarged and tender salivary glands. The enlarged salivary glands are the most infamous symptom, because they can cause puffy cheeks and a swollen jaw. While mumps can come and go with little harm, it does have the potential to be quite serious...especially in adults. Mumps can lead to more serious complications like deafness, meningitis, and encephalitis.
If you follow some pretty basic sanitary practices, you can decrease your chances of contracting the mumps (and other illnesses). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that mumps outbreaks can happen at any time of the year, according to Woman's Day, but "risk factors include being in a crowded environment like a sports event, dorm, or classroom, or exchanging saliva through kissing or sharing utensils."