Mumps is a viral infection. The infection causes fever and swelling of the parotid glands.
Because of the mumps
vaccine, this condition is not as common as it once was in the United States.
Swollen Parotid Gland
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The virus is usually spread through contact with an infected person's saliva. The mumps virus is highly contagious. It spreads easily among people in close contact.
These factors increase your chance of developing mumps:
Being exposed to unvaccinated people or to people who have mumpsBeing born after 1956 and never having mumps, or not being vaccinated after first birthdayAge: 10-19 yearsSeason: winterHaving a weakened immune system, even if you have been vaccinated
Tell your doctor if you have any of these risk factors.
About one-third of cases have no symptoms at all. Symptoms often occur 2-3 weeks after exposure to the virus.
Mumps may cause: Painful swelling of the parotid glands (under the cheeks and jaw)FeverSore throatHeadacheStiff neckNausea and vomitingDrowsiness
Other areas may also be affected, such as: Swelling and pain under the tongue, jaw, or front of the chestIn males: painful inflammation of the testiclesIn females: inflammation of the ovaries, which results in pain or tenderness in the abdomen
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. The doctor will diagnose the mumps based on these findings.
There is no specific
for mumps. Mumps is caused by a virus. Viruses cannot be treated with antibiotics. Do not treat mumps with
Do not give aspirin to children or teens with a current or recent viral infection. Check with your doctor before giving a child aspirin.
In general, mumps will last about 10-12 days. Try these comfort measures: Apply hot or cold compresses to swollen areas.Gargle with warm salt water to soothe sore throat.
Treat high fever with
Drink plenty of liquids. Avoid tart or acidic drinks (such as, orange juice, lemonade).Eat a soft, bland diet.
In most healthy children, complications are rare. When complications do occur, they include: Deafness
(may not be permanent)
Swelling or infection of the brain, pancreas, heart, or other organsTesticular inflammation (may occur in up to 20% of adolescent boys and men)
(sterility is rare)
Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent mumps. The vaccine contains live viruses that can no longer cause disease.
The mumps vaccine is usually given in combination with: Measles
Measles, rubella, and
(chicken pox) vaccine (MMRV)
The regular schedule for giving the vaccine is at age 12-15 months and again at age 4-6 years.
Ask your doctor if the vaccine is right for you. In general, avoid the vaccine if you: Have had severe allergic reactions to vaccines or vaccine componentsAre pregnant—Avoid pregnancy for 1-3 months after receiving the vaccine.Have a weakened immune systemHave a high fever or severe upper respiratory tract infection
If you are not vaccinated, avoid contact with someone who has mumps. Discuss the benefits of vaccination with your doctor.
Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 15th
ed. New York, NY: McGraw Hill; 2001.
Kassianos G. Vaccination for tomorrow: the need to improve immunisation rates.
J Fam Health Care. 2010;20(1):13-6.
Last reviewed September 2012 by Kari Kassir, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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