by EBSCO Medical Review Board
(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
Copyright © 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 this problem are:

  • Living or traveling to places where mumps are common
  • Being exposed to someone with mumps
  • Being in crowded settings, such as a college dormitory
  • 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 2 to 3 weeks after exposure. Problems may be:

  • 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.

Your blood may be tested.


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.


Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians 

Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics 


About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children 

The College of Family Physicians of Canada 


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: Accessed October 30, 2020.

Mumps. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed October 30, 2020.

Mumps. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at: Accessed October 30, 2020.

Mumps. Immunization Action Committee website. Available at: Accessed October 30, 2020.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board James P. Cornell, MD
  • Review Date: 01/2021
  • Update Date: 05/04/2021