PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - The waiting room at a hospital may not be the best place to be if you suspect you have the mumps, an official with an area hospital said Monday.
Mumps cases have been confirmed in Craighead, Greene, Jackson and Randolph counties, public health officials have said.
Hospitals will not turn away any patient, but Krystle Patterson suggests people call a family doctor before going out in public.
Patterson, who is the director of infection prevention at Arkansas Methodist Medical Center, said people have gone to the emergency room and are concerned about the mumps. Patterson said people should call first, with the call giving hospital officials enough time to use proper protocol.
"We will mask at the door. We have signs indicating to let us know as soon as they walk in our registration has been trained to ask anyone with these signs or symptoms," Patterson said. "If you have the opportunity through the week to go see your pediatrician that is probably the best opportunity to prevent the spreading. But again, you still need to call ahead regardless where you are going or even if you are going to the health department."
People should use proper hand hygiene and cough etiquette to help avoid spreading the disease, Patterson said, noting parents should keep their children at home if they are contagious.
"If you take your kid back to school while they are still contagious that just gives the potential for it to spread even further you want to make sure they are out of school for the right amount of time, so they don't go back and spread," Patterson said.
The average incubation period for the mumps is 12 to 25 days, Patterson said, noting symptoms can be dormant for up to two weeks.
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