Also known as: the mumps, parotitis.

What is mumps?

Mumps is a viral infection that affects the parotid glands. The parotid glands produce saliva and are located in the lower part of the face. It typically occurs in children and young adults but has been well controlled thanks to vaccinations to protect children from the illness.

What causes mumps?

The Mumps virus is the cause of the illness. It can be spread easily from child to child through exposure to another child’s saliva and respiratory secretions.

What are the symptoms of mumps?

The initial symptoms of the mumps can include a headache or muscle aches, fatigue, low grade fever and lack of appetite. As it progresses, the parotid glands beneath the ears and jaw become swollen and tender. These symptoms tend to last anywhere from seven to 10 days.

What are mumps care options?

The best way to prevent mumps is to have children vaccinated to prevent the disease and its spread.

If a child gets mumps, the best treatment is supportive care in the form of rest, plenty of fluids, soft foods, over-the-counter pain relievers and warm or cold compresses on the swollen face. The child should also be isolated to prevent the spread of the disease while symptoms are present.

Reviewed by: Otto M Ramos, MD

This page was last updated on: July 22, 2022 04:24 PM

Infectious Diseases

The Division of Infectious Diseases at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital uses state-of-the-art diagnostic tools to identify acute or chronic viral and bacterial diseases, so that we can treat it effectively as quickly as possible.

Learn More