TRI-CITIES, WA - While the flu has certainly been present this season, healthcare officials in the Tri-Cities are now urging residents to also be on the lookout for the mumps.
Reporter Kristina Shalhoup talked with a nurse at the Benton Franklin Health District earlier today and learned about what sort of symptoms we should look out for.
Out of King, Pierce, Snohomish, Spokane, and Yakima counties, doctors have tallied 178 cases of the mumps virus so far.
At its best, the mumps will make you feel under the weather, but at its worst, the virus can cause extreme swelling, hearing loss, and even death, and it's even tougher on adults than it is on children.
Luckily, none of the cases doctors in Washington have seen have been severe; regardless, they're confident that the possibility of seeing cases in the Tri-Cities is high.
Earlier today, Heather Hill, the Public Health Nurse Supervisor at the Benton Franklin Health District told us that the best thing you can do is make sure you have your mumps vaccine, and be aware of how you're feeling and who you come into contact with.
"Once we know a person is possibly going to be diagnosed with mumps, we also ask them to look around and see who they've potentially exposed, and who they might have come in contact with who gave it to them," Hill said.
Much like the common cold, the mumps virus spreads from close contact with someone who is already infected. However, as far as symptoms go, mumps patients can experience a fever, headache, muscle aches, and exhaustion as well.
The virus is mainly characterized by the swelling of the parotid glands, which sit near where your jawline meets your earlobe. Unfortunately, there are many other viruses that carry symptoms similar to those of the mumps, so if you see yourself with any of those symptoms, immediately see your doctor and ask to be tested for the virus.