Navigate Up

Pediatric Center - A-Z Index

#
Q
Z

Print This Page

Mumps

Mumps is a contagious disease that leads to painful swelling of the salivary glands . The salivary glands produce saliva, a liquid that moistens food and helps you chew and swallow.

Alternative Names

Epidemic parotitis

Causes

The mumps are caused by a virus. The virus is spread from person to person by drops of moisture from your respiratory tract, such as when you sneeze. It is also spread through direct contact with items that have infected saliva on them.

Mumps most often occurs in children ages 2 - 12 who have not been vaccinated against the disease. However, the infection can occur at any age. The time between being exposed to the virus and getting sick (incubation period) is about 12 - 24 days.

Mumps may also infect the:

Symptoms


  • Face pain
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Swelling of the parotid glands (the largest salivary glands, located between the ear and the jaw)
  • Swelling of the temples or jaw (temporomandibular area)

Other symptoms of this disease that can occur in males:

Exams and Tests

A physical exam shows swollen glands . No testing is required in most cases.

Treatment

There is no specific treatment for mumps.

Things you can do to relieve symptoms include:

  • Apply ice or heat packs to the neck area.
  • Take acetaminophen (Tylenol) to relieve pain. (Do not give aspirin to children with a viral illness because of the riskĀ for Reye syndrome .)
  • Drink extra fluid.
  • Eat soft foods.
  • Gargle with warm salt water.

Outlook (Prognosis)

People with this disease do well most of the time, even if organs are involved. After the illness is over, you will be immune to mumps for the rest of your life.

Possible Complications

Infection of other organs may occur, including orchitis .

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if you or your child has mumps and:

Go to the emergency room or call the local emergency number (such as 911) if convulsions occur.

Prevention

MMR immunization (vaccine) protects against measles , mumps, and rubella . It should be given to children 12 - 15 months old. The vaccine is given again between ages 4 - 6, or between ages 11 - 12, if it wasn't given before.

Recent outbreaks of the mumps have reinforced the importance of having all children vaccinated.

References

Mason WH. Mumps. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF. Kliegman: Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 240.

Litman N, Baum SG. Mumps virus. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009:chap 157.

Updated: 5/14/2014

Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.


©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com