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:

  • Painful swelling of the parotid glands
  • Fever
  • Pain
  • Lack of hunger
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Lack of energy

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.

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