Mumps: Meaning, Diagnosis and Overview

What is Mumps?

Mumps is a contagious viral infection that is common in children. It primarily affects the parotid glands – one of three pairs of saliva-producing (salivary) glands, situated below and in front of your ears.
Mumps Overview

Recovery Time

Children usually recover from mumps in about 10-12 days. It takes about 1 week for the swelling to disappear in each parotid gland, but both glands do not usually swell at the same time.


  • Physical examination
  • Blood tests in some cases

FAQs prepared by doctor

Q1.  I have swelling below the ear on mouth. Is it mumps?
Unilateral parotitis can be caused by ductal obstruction, stones, cysts, and tumors. In the absence of parotitis or other salivary gland enlargement, symptoms of other visceral organ and/or CNS involvement may predominate, and a laboratory diagnosis is required to say it is mumps.
Other entities should be considered when manifestations consistent with mumps appear in organs other than the parotid. Testicular torsion may produce a painful scrotal mass resembling that seen in mumps orchitis.

Q2.  What should be done if a pregnant woman develops mumps?
Mumps in pregnancy does not appear to lead to premature birth, low birth weight, or fetal malformations. The evidence base for an increased risk of fetal loss due to mumps in pregnancy is weak.

Q3.  What is the treatment for Mumps?
Mumps is generally a benign, self-resolving illness. Therapy for parotitis and other clinical manifestations is symptom based and supportive. The administration of analgesics and the application of warm or cold compresses to the parotid area may be helpful. Testicular pain may be minimized by the local application of cold compresses and gentle support for the scrotum. Anesthetic blocks may also be used.

Q4.  If my child develops a mild case of measles after receiving their first MMR vaccine, are they contagious to non-vaccinated children?
No. Post-vaccination symptoms are not infectious, so your child will not pass anything on to non-vaccinated children.

Q5.  How long does protection from MMR last?
Virtually everyone (more than 99%) will be protected against measles and rubella for more than 20 years after two doses of MMR.
Mumps in vaccinated people is, however, much less likely to lead to complications such as meningitis or orchitis (painful swelling of the testes) and vaccinated people are less likely to require admission to hospital.

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