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Health experts advise students get mumps vaccination before spring break

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You may have a college student returning home for spring break. Cases of the mumps have recently been reported at universities across the country, including the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville.  

Murray State University is crowded with students, like Annesha Jackson, who are ready to put down the books at the end of the week.

"I am going to go home and have a week of pure relaxation," Jackson said.

Jackson is one of many students getting out of town for spring break.

"As they leave campus, they become exposed to more people," Murray State School of Nursing associate professor Dana Todd said. 

Todd says that's why students are more likely spread the mumps during spring break.

"If they do develop it (and) someone comes into contact with them, they're more likely to acquire it," Todd said.

Symptoms include fever, headaches, fatigue and the swelling of glands that lead to puffy cheeks and swollen jaws. Mumps is airborne, so it's spread by coughing, sneezing, and even just talking. That's why doctors say it's spread more easily in crowded places like college campuses.

Todd says the best way to prevent your students from getting it is to check their records an make sure their up to date on the measles, mumps and rubella vaccination, a two part vaccination to be taken at least 28 days apart.

"Even though we're vaccinated, if we come in contact with it, we can still develop it. But maybe it isn't as severe as someone who is not vaccinated," Todd said.

She says while the vaccination is not 100 percent effective, it's still a step in keeping you on track for a healthy and safe spring break.

Todd also says if you or your student is traveling, it's a good idea to ask your doctor what precautions you can take to avoid getting sick on your trip.

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