There have been several cases of people getting mumps in SE London recently - here is what to look out for.

Mumps is a contagious viral infection that used to be most common in children before the introduction of the MMR vaccine.

It is most recognisable by painful swelling at the side of the face, giving people a distinctive "hamster face" appearance.

Bromley has seen at least two cases and there has been one in Bexley, according to the latest weekly update from Public Health England.

What are the symptoms?

Other symptoms of mumps include headaches, joint pain and a high temperature, which may develop a few days before the swelling of the parotid glands.

Should I got to the doctors?

It's important to contact your GP if you suspect mumps so a diagnosis can be made. While mumps isn't usually serious, the condition has similar symptoms to more serious types of infection, such as glandular fever and tonsillitis.

Your GP can usually make a diagnosis after seeing and feeling the swelling, looking at the position of the tonsils in the mouth and checking the person's temperature to see if it's higher than normal.

Let your GP know in advance if you're coming to the surgery, so they can take any necessary precautions to prevent the spread of infection.

How does it spread?

Mumps is spread through infected droplets of saliva that can be inhaled or picked up from surfaces and transferred into the mouth or nose.

A person is most contagious a few days before the symptoms develop and for a few days afterwards.

If you have mumps, you can help prevent it spreading by:

Regularly washing your hands with soap

Using and disposing of tissues when you sneeze

Avoiding school or work for at least five days after your symptoms first develop

Preventing mumps

You can protect your child against mumps by making sure they're given the combined MMR vaccine (for mumps, measles and rubella).

How is it treated?

There's currently no cure for mumps, but the infection should pass within one or two weeks.

Treatment is used to relieve symptoms and includes:

Getting plenty of bed rest and fluids

Using painkillers, such as ibuprofen and paracetamol – aspirin shouldn't be given to children under 16

Applying a warm or cool compress to the swollen glands to help relieve pain