scroll to top
Loading icon
Health Information Center
Press enter or spacebar to select a desired language.


  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:



(Epidemic Parotitis)


Mumps is a viral infection of the parotid glands. These glands are on the side of the face near the ear.

Swollen Parotid Gland

Swollen Parotid Gland\\hgfiler01a\intellect\images\si55551288.jpgNULL49NULL2008-11-07350398Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


Mumps is caused by a virus. It is spread through contact with an infected person's saliva.

Risk Factors

Things that may raise the risk 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 dorm
  • No history of mumps immunization
  • Having a weakened immune system, even if a person has been vaccinated


Not all people with mumps have symptoms. People who do will have symptoms two to three weeks after exposure. A person with mumps may have:

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


The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done.

Blood tests may be done.


There is no treatment for mumps. Viruses cannot be treated with antibiotics.

Mumps will last about 10 to 12 days. The goal of treatment is to manage symptoms. Choices are:

  • Supportive care, such as gargling with warm salt water and drinking plenty of fluids
  • Medicines to ease pain and fever, such as acetaminophen


Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent mumps. The mumps vaccine is usually given in combination with:

People who are not vaccinated should avoid contact with anyone who has mumps.





  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Pink Book. 13th edition. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2015.
  • Mumps. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at:
  • Mumps. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
  • Mumps. Nemours Kids Health website. Available at:
  • Mumps. Immunization Action Committee website. Available at:
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.