Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center - Health Library

Mumps

(Epidemic Parotitis)

Definition

Mumps is a viral infection of the parotid glands. These glands are on the side of the face near the ear. Because of the mumps vaccine, this illness is not as common as it once was.

Swollen Parotid Gland
Swollen Parotid Gland

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Causes ^

Mumps is caused by a virus. It is spread through contact with an infected person's saliva.

Risk Factors ^

Factors that may raise your chance of mumps are:

  • Living or traveling to places where mumps are common
  • Being exposed to someone with mumps
  • Being in crowded settings, such as a college dormitory
  • Being unvaccinated
  • Having a weakened immune system, even if you have been vaccinated

Symptoms ^

Not all people with mumps have symptoms. When they do occur, they often happen 2 to 3 weeks after exposure.

Mumps may cause:

Diagnosis ^

You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done.

Your blood may be tested.

Treatment ^

There is no treatment for mumps. Viruses can’t be treated with antibiotics.

Mumps will last about 10 to 12 days. Comfort measures may help:

  • Apply a hot or cold pack to swollen areas.
  • Gargle with warm salt water to soothe a sore throat.
  • Treat high fever with an over the counter pain reliever.
  • Drink plenty of liquids.
  • Eat soft, bland foods.

Note: Aspirin can cause health problems in some children with certain infections. It is best not to give aspirin or aspirin products to children with infections.

Prevention ^

Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent mumps. The mumps vaccine is usually given in combination with:

If you are not vaccinated, avoid contact with someone who has mumps.

RESOURCES:

Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
http://familydoctor.org

Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
http://www.healthychildren.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children
http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca

The College of Family Physicians of Canada
http://www.cfpc.ca

REFERENCES:

Kassianos G. Vaccination for tomorrow: the need to improve immunisation rates. J Fam Health Care. 2010;20(1):13-6.

Mumps. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/mumps. Updated November 20, 2017. Accessed July 18 ,2018.

Mumps. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114737/Mumps. Updated May 14, 2018. Accessed July 18, 2018.

Mumps. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/sick/mumps.html. Updated February 2016. Accessed July 18, 2018.

Mumps. Immunization Action Committee website. Available at: http://www.vaccineinformation.org/mumps. Updated May 11, 2018. Accessed July 18, 2018.

Wilson KF, Meier JD, et al. Salivary gland disorders. 2014;89(11):882-888.

Last reviewed May 2018 by James Cornell, MD  Last Updated: 7/18/18