Mumps is a virus primarily affecting the saliva-producing (salivary) glands located close to your ears. Mumps can lead to swelling in either or both these glands.

It was commonplace throughout the United States until mumps vaccination was made commonplace. Since then, the incidence of mumps has drastically decreased.

However, mumps outbreaks do occur across some areas of the United States, and the amount of cases has risen upwards in the last few months. The majority of these outbreaks affect those who aren’t vaccine-free and are prevalent in close-contact environments like schools and college campuses.

The complications of mumps like hearing loss could be severe, but they are not common. There’s no particular treatment for the mumps.

Signs and symptoms

A few people with the mumps virus exhibit no symptoms or signs or have very minimal symptoms. If symptoms and signs occur, they typically happen between two and three weeks after the exposure.

The most prominent indication of mumps is swelling salivary glands, which cause the cheeks to puff up. Other signs and symptoms could include:

  • The swollen salivary glands that are located on either or both sides of your face
  • The pain that occurs when swallowing or chewing
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscles hurt
  • Insomnia and fatigue
  • A loss of appetite

When is the best time to visit a doctor?

Consult your physician if you or your child exhibits symptoms or signs of the mumps. Mumps is highly contagious and can last for the first nine days following symptoms begin to manifest. Make sure to inform your doctor before you arrive that you think you might have mumps so that you can make arrangements to prevent spreading the disease to other patients waiting in your room.

In the between:

  • Relax as long as is possible
  • It is recommended to treat the pain with cold compresses or over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB and others) and Acetaminophen (Tylenol, other brands)

The disease has become more common, and you may be suffering from another illness that’s causing the symptoms and signs. For example, the swelling of the salivary glands and increase in temperature could be a sign of:

  • A salivary gland that is blocked
  • A mumps is a different form of viral infection.

The Reasons

The virus causes mumps that can spread quickly from one person to another by infected saliva. For example, if you aren’t immune to the virus, you could contract mumps by taking saliva droplets from an infected person who recently coughed or sneezed. It is also possible to contract mumps by sharing cups or utensils with someone suffering from mumps.


Mumps-related complications are not common; however, some could be grave.

The most common mumps complications are swelling and inflammation in a specific area of the body like:

  • Testicles. This condition, also known as orchitis, can cause one or both testicles to expand in males who have reached puberty. Orchitis can be painful; however, it’s rare to cause the child’s inability to father (sterility).
  • The brain. Viral infections such as mumps can cause inflammation in the brain (encephalitis). Encephalitis may cause neurological problems and even lead to life-threatening.
  • Membranes and fluids around the spinal cord. This condition, called meningitis, may occur when the mumps virus is transmitted through the bloodstream to affect your central nervous system.
  • Pancreas. The signs and symptoms of this disease are also known as pancreatitis. It can be described as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and stomach pain.

Additional complications associated with mumps are:

  • Loss of hearing. Can experience loss of hearing in both or one of the ears. While it is not common, hearing loss can be permanent.
  • Heart issues. Rarely mumps has been linked to abnormal heartbeats and conditions that affect the cardiac muscle.
  • Miscarriage. Contracting Mumps while pregnant, especially at the beginning of your pregnancy, can result in miscarriage.


The most effective way to avoid the spread of mumps is to have a vaccination against the illness. However, many people are immune to mumps when they’re immunized.

The mumps vaccine is usually given as a combined measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) immunization, which contains each vaccine’s safest and most effective form. The two doses of the MMR vaccine are required before the child starts school. The vaccines must be administered when the child:

  • Between the ages of 12 to 15 months
  • Between the age of 4 and 6 years old

Students at colleges, international travelers, and health professionals are advised to ensure that they’ve had two doses of MMR vaccine. This is because a single dose of the vaccine is not entirely effective in preventing the spread of mumps.

Third doses of the vaccine aren’t recommended routinely. However, your physician may recommend an additional amount if you are located in an area where there has been an ongoing outbreak. A study on a recent MMR outbreak on a university campus revealed that those who received a third dose MMR vaccination had a lower chance of contracting the disease.

Individuals who do not require the MMR vaccine

You do not need to get a vaccine if:

  • Two doses of the MMR vaccine within twelve months
  • A single dose of MMR at 12 months, and you’re a child in preschool or an adult who’s not at risk of measles, mumps or measles exposure.
  • Do you have blood tests to prove that you’re immune to measles-rubella and mumps?
  • Born before 1957the majority of people in that age group likely were affected by the virus naturally and are immune.

The vaccine is also not suggested for:

  • For individuals who have had a life-threatening allergy, the antibiotic neomycin, or another component in the MMR vaccine
  • Women who are pregnant or intend to become pregnant in these four weeks.
  • People with impaired immune systems

People who need to get the MMR vaccine

It would help if you got vaccinated. If you don’t meet the above criteria and if :

  • Are you a woman who is not pregnant and who is of childbearing age
  • Go to college or another post-secondary institution
  • Work in a medical facility or child care centre. school
  • Consider travelling overseas or taking an excursion

People who shouldn’t delay getting the MMR vaccine

Think about waiting if:

  • You’re either severely or moderately sick. Wait until you recover.
  • You’re pregnant. Keep it until you have given birth.

Patients who should consult their doctor

Speak to your doctor before having mumps vaccinations. If you are:

  • Have you been diagnosed with cancer?
  • Have a blood condition
  • Are you suffering from a condition that affects your immunity system, for instance, HIV/AIDS
  • Are you receiving treatment with drugs like steroids which can affect your immune system?
  • You have received another vaccination in the last four weeks.

The vaccine can cause side effects.

It is believed that the MMR vaccine is highly secure and efficient. Receiving the MMR vaccine is far more secure than receiving mumps.

The majority of people do not experience any adverse side effects due to the vaccination. However, some individuals experience mild rash, fever, or joint pain for a brief time.

Children who rarely receive the MMR vaccine may have a fever-triggered seizure. However, these seizures aren’t caused by long-term health problems.

Several reports – by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Institute of Medicine, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that there is no connection between the MMR vaccine and autism.


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