Skip to main content
Menu

Definition

Mumps is a viral infection of the parotid glands. These glands are on the side of the face near the ear.

Swollen Parotid Gland
Swollen Parotid Gland

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

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

Risk Factors

Things that may raise the risk of this problem 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
  • No history of mumps immunization
  • Having a weakened immune system, even if a person has been vaccinated

Symptoms

Not all people with mumps have symptoms. People who do will have symptoms 2 to 3 weeks after exposure. Problems may be:

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done.

Your blood may be tested.

Treatment

There is no treatment for mumps. Viruses cannot be treated with antibiotics.

Mumps will last about 10 to 12 days. The goal of treatment is to manage symptoms. Choices are:

  • Supportive care, such as gargling with warm salt water and drinking plenty of fluids
  • Medicines to ease pain and fever, such as acetaminophen

Prevention

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

People who are not vaccinated should avoid contact with anyone 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:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Pink Book. 13th edition. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2015.

Mumps. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/mumps. Accessed October 30, 2020.

Mumps. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/mumps. Accessed October 30, 2020.

Mumps. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/sick/mumps.html. Accessed October 30, 2020.

Mumps. Immunization Action Committee website. Available at: http://www.vaccineinformation.org/mumps. Accessed October 30, 2020.

Last reviewed January 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board James P. Cornell, MD  Last Updated: 5/4/2021