Overview of Mumps

Mumps is a contagious viral condition and typically emerge with a fever, followed by headaches, muscle aches, fatigue, and loss of appetite.

Mumps causes the swelling of salivary glands. This makes the jaws extremely tender and swollen. You may also have puffy cheeks. As it is a contagious disease, it can spread among individuals living in group settings. 

Basically in mumps, the glands responsible for producing saliva are affected. These glands are known as “Salivary Glands” or “Parotid Glands" and are located behind and below our ears. Mumps is characterized by the swelling of these glands.  

Signs and Symptoms of Mumps

Visible symptoms of mumps usually appear after 2 weeks of being exposed to this virus. Usually one starts exhibiting flu-like symptoms which can be followed by: 

  • Extreme tiredness 
  • Body pains 
  • Headaches 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Feverish body or a low-grade fever

All these initial symptoms are then followed by a high-grade fever and visible swelling of the salivary glands. The salivary glands may not swell at once. These glands swell and cause tenderness in jaws over time. As this is a highly contagious disease, you may pass it on to other people around you. 

Some people have very mild or simply flu-like symptoms and in some rare cases, they may show no symptoms at all and yet have the disease. 

Typically it takes about 2 weeks to completely recover from the disease. In some extremely rare cases, serious complications of mumps can also occur. 

Types of Mumps

Causes of Mumps

Infected saliva causes the transmission of this disease. It can be contracted by breathing in the saliva droplets of an affected person who has just sneezed or coughed. Sharing utensils of an affected person can also cause you to have mumps.


Risk Factors of Mumps

The complications of mumps are very rare but can cause some serious potential damage. Usually, the complication of mumps involves swelling of some part of the body. These may include: 

  • Testicles 

This condition is also known as Orchitis. It causes either one or both testicles to swell in males who have reached puberty. This is a painful condition and in extremely rare cases, can lead to male Infertility

  • Brain 

Mumps can also lead to inflammation of the brain, a condition known as Encephalitis. Neurological problems can also lead to life-threatening situations. 

  • Membrane and Fluid around the Brain and Spinal Cord 

If the mumps gets mixed in the bloodstream and starts affecting the central nervous system, this condition is known as Meningitis

  • Pancreas 

One serious complication of mumps is pancreatitis. It involves pain in the upper abdomen followed by nausea and vomiting. 

Some other complications of mumps include hearing loss, heart issues, and miscarriages. 



The best way to get immunity from mumps is through vaccines. Once you get fully vaccinated, you can easily prevent this disease. Before reaching school age, each child is recommended to get 2 doses of Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) inoculation.

The ideal period for these doses is: 

  • The first one should be given when a child is between the age of 12 and 15 months. 
  • The second one should be given when a child is between the age of 4 and 6 years. 

As a college student, traveler, and health worker, it is highly recommended that you get vaccinated. Most often, two doses of the MMR vaccine are sufficient, but depending upon your overall health condition, your doctor might recommend a third dose.



For your well-being and the well-being of the people around you, it is recommended to consult your general physician as soon as you feel like having any of the above-mentioned symptoms. 

  • Your general physician will likely ask you about being vaccinated for this disease or not. 
  • He may also ask you for a blood test to confirm the incidence of this disease.  
  • Mumps is confirmed by IgM antibodies in serum samples. A positive IgM test result indicates a recent or ongoing infection. 

Treatment of Mumps | When to Consult a Doctor

The thing with the virus is, it cannot be treated with antibiotics. You must contact your general physician immediately if you think you are developing any symptoms of mumps. Some remedies that you can do to relieve the symptoms are: 

  • Do not overtire yourself.
  • Some over-the-counter painkillers can help you lower the fever.
  • Consume lots and lots of fluids.
  • Icing the swollen jaw can also help you.
  • Be mindful of your diet. Consuming a soft diet and soups can also help you.
  • Acidic foods and beverages must be avoided as they can cause pain in your salivary glands. 

Being vaccinated or previously exposed to this disease can grant you immunity from this disease.