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A mild, contagious disease caused by a virus. The virus affects salivary glands causing painful swelling especially of the parotid gland.
Mumps involves Parotid glands (salivary glands that lie between the ear and jaw). Other organs, including the testicles, ovaries, pancreas, breasts, brain and meninges (membranes that cover the brain) are sometimes involved.
MUMPS affects all ages, but more common in children (2 to 12 years). Approximately 10% of adults are susceptible to mumps. Adult disease is much more severe than that in children.

Signs & Symptons

  • Swelling, redness and pain of the parotid glands. The glands feel firm, and pain increases with chewing or swallowing.
  • Fever, Headache.
  • Vomiting (less commonly).
  • Sore throat.

Possible Complications

  • Painful, swollen testicles. if the ovaries or pancreas are involved.
  • Severe headache, if the brain or meninges are involved.


Person-to-person transmission of the mumps virus by the respiratory route. The virus can be transmitted anytime from 48 hours before symptoms begin to 6 days after symptoms appear. The incubation period is 14 to 24 days after contact, average being 18 days.

Risk Increases With

Crowded living conditions.


  • Give your child the mumps vaccine at the appropriate age. (create hyperlink)
  • If your child has not had mumps or been vaccinated and a close family member has mumps, your doctor may suggest an antimumps globulin. The injection MAY prevent the disease–it is not guaranteed–and it is expensive.

Diagnostic Measures

  • Observation of symptoms.
  • Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.

Possible Complications

Infection of the brain or meninges (meningo- encephalitis), pancreas, ovaries, breasts or testicles. Sterility may occur if both testicles become infected (rare).

Probable Outcomes

Spontaneous recovery in about 10 days if no complications occur. After having the disease, a person has lifelong immunity to mumps.


General Measures

  • It is not necessary to isolate the infected person from the family. By the time symptoms appear, the disease has already spread.
  • Apply heat or ice–whichever feels better–intermittently to the swollen, painful glands (parotid or testicles). Use a hot-water bottle, hot towel or ice pack.


Once the disease begins, it must run its natural course. There is no safe, readily available medicine that can kill the virus or keep it from multiplying.

  • For minor pain, you may use non-prescription drugs such as acetaminophen. Don’t use aspirin as it may give Reye’s syndrome.

Your doctor may prescribe

  • Stronger pain relievers.
  • Steroids, if testicles are involved.


Bed rest is not essential and does not reduce the possibility of complications. Allow as much activity as strength and feeling of well being allow.
Patients are no longer contagious when swelling disappears.


No special diet, but increase daily fluid intake to at least 6 to 8 glasses of liquid. Fruit juices may increase pain.

Contact your Doctor

  • Fever (oral) rises above 101F (38.3C).

The following occurs during the illness:

  • Vomiting or abdominal pain.
  • Severe headache which is not relieved by acetaminophen.
  • Drowsiness or inability to stay awake.
  • Swelling or pain in the testicle.
  • Twitching of the face muscles.
  • Convulsion.
  • Discomfort or redness in the eyes.