As the mumps epidemic continues to expand in neighboring state Kansas, it’s only a matter of time before the virus arrives in Oklahoma. So far, the state has only eight suspected cases, according to the Tulsa City-County Health Department, but more will undoubtedly appear.

Fortunately for Pontotoc County residents, the Pontotoc County Health Department has been working with Ada City Schools to prevent mumps from spreading within the school system and they have plenty of vaccinations on hand for residents, especially for those who do not have health insurance.

Mumps is a viral disease that causes painful swelling of the salivary glands and fever. And as with most viruses, if it hasn’t been contracted while in adolescense, the results during adulthood can be far more severe, with testicular swelling and rashes.

Some of the primary candidates for vaccinations are students kindergarden through 12th grade and college students, each of whom should receive at least two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. Anyone born after 1957 should have at least one dose of the MMR vaccine. It is also generally noted that people born before this year are considered immune and do not need to get a dose.

So why not take a little precaution and get a vaccination shot? It just may save you a lot of time and pain later on down the road.