Mumps: Symptoms, Complications, and Treatment


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What is mumps?

Mumps is a highly contagious disease, caused by the mumps virus, which affects the salivary glands or the parotid glands of a person. You can get infected with mumps via droplets of saliva from the mouth, mucus from the nose, or throat of an infected person, usually when the person sneezes, coughs, or talks.

The most noticeable feature of this disease is that the infected person develops a painful swollen ‘hamster-like face’, or ‘chipmunk cheeks’. This well-known symptom, however, is also the last one to present itself, after high fever, headache and general flu-like symptoms.

If you suspect that you have been exposed to the mumps virus contact your family physician or a general physician immediately.
It is also advisable to let your doctor know in advance that you are coming for consultation for suspected mumps so that the doctor can take adequate precautions against the spread of infection.

Please note, receiving a vaccine after getting exposed to the virus will not prevent the disease from occurring. However, if you did not get infected after the particular exposure, a vaccine may protect you against future infections of the mumps virus.

How does mumps occur?

The virus travels in the air through droplets of saliva and mucus when an infected person sneezes, coughs, or talks.

It can land on various surfaces, such as door handles, and cutlery and linger on for sometime. When an unsuspecting person touches these surfaces and then rubs his mouth or nose, he gets infected. The incubation period of the mumps virus is 7-18 days, and on an average is around 10 days after the exposure.
An infected person experiences the symptoms 2-3 weeks after the exposure.
However, not all people experience the symptoms of mumps. One out of three people suffering from mumps do not experience any symptoms at all. Mumps is a very common infection among children.  This disease can be prevented through vaccination. There is a limitation however as people who :

  • have a compromised immune system,

  • are allergic to ingredients in the vaccine

  • are pregnant

cannot take the vaccine.

After suffering from mumps once, a person develops immunity to it. There are, however, rare cases of mumps occurring a second time in some people.

Who is prone to mumps?

  • Those who work in high-risk environments such as hospitals and schools are highly susceptible to the mumps virus and should be vaccinated against mumps.

  • Children below the age of six years, as well as adults who have not received the vaccination, are at a high risk of contracting mumps.

  • People who have a compromised immune system are at a high risk of contracting mumps which can also lead to serious complications.

What are the symptoms of mumps? How is mumps diagnosed?

The symptoms of mumps usually appear between 12 and 25 days after a person has been exposed to the mumps virus. The symptoms include:

  • painful swollen and puffy cheeks

  • flu-like symptoms including sneezing, coughing, and high fever  (103F)

  • weakness and tremendous fatigue

  • muscle and body pain

  • pain in the throat while swallowing and drinking

  • abdominal pain in adolescent girls due to swollen ovaries

  • pain in testicles among adolescent boys

  • nausea

  • dry mouth

  • loss of appetite


A general physician can diagnose mumps from the symptoms alone, especially from the swollen cheeks. The doctor may ask you to undertake blood, saliva, or urine test to confirm that you suffer from mumps. In the most severe cases, the doctor may take a sample of the cerebrospinal fluid for testing.

What are the complications of mumps?

Several complications can occur with mumps, but as the infection passes away they vanish. The complications include:

  • swollen and painful testicles in boys also known as Orchitis

  • swelling of ovaries in females which can be painful

  • mumps during pregnancy can lead to a miscarriage

  • meningitis which is swelling of the membranes around your spinal cord and brain

  • encephalitis which is is inflammation of the brain can cause seizures, severe headaches, and loss of consciousness

  • pancreatitis or inflammation of the pancreas leading to abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting

  • damage to the cochlea in the inner ear causing loss of hearing

What is the treatment for mumps?

Antibiotics cannot help treat mumps as it is a virus. The doctor may prescribe fever reducers and painkillers to hasten the healing.

Would you like to consult a doctor for Mumps ?

Patient Experiences

Nitin jain
Satisfied With Mumps Treatment
I visited Dr mittal for mumps infection. I found Dr vikas behaviour very nice. His diagnosis and treatment is very good. I am perfect now...Read Less
Doctor in this story :Dr. Vikas Mittal
Carewell Family Clinic
Anoop Singh
Satisfied With Medicines and Treatment
My mother had swelling on left side of face. Being a Sunday it was difficult for me to suddenly find a doctor. But Practo helped me and we got an appointment with Dr. Swati Chauhan. She is very friendly yet professional and explained thoroughly about the disease and precautions to be taken. I am very much satisfied with the treatment and the medications received from Dr. Swati. Thanks....Read Less
Doctor in this story :Dr. Swati Chauhan
Dr Swati Chauhan Clinic
Rama Devi
Effective Treatment
She is good experienced. Diagnosis is very good interactive, she prescribed only minimum medicine Explained clearly about disease ...Read Less
Doctor in this story :Dr. Lily Rodrigues
Surakshaka Multi-Speciality And Diabetes Hospitals

Questions answered by trusted doctors

Verified User
A lady in wife's office has been diagnosed with mumps yesterday. I've read that mumps is infectious 3-4 days before symptoms show up. How can I ensure that my wife is not infected? Is there any preventive for post exposure?
Dr. Manju Lihala
General Physician, Bangalore
She may be exposed already .But if she has been vaccinated against it in childhood then she may not get the disease.
Verified User
Hi, My friend had been sufferring from mumps during last week for 7 days where his left salivary glands got swollen. Yesterday his doctor told that he has recovered. He seemed to okay and the fever and swelling were gone. He also went to office. But today it seems his right salivary gland is becoming swelled. We had the idea that once you recover from mumps you don't get it a second time. Is it possible that he had a relapse? Any advice will be helpful. Thanks. Chandramauli
Dr. Venkat Raghav
General Physician, Bangalore
Hello...... Mumps is an acute viral infection of the paramyxovirus family. In general, natural infection confers lifelong protection against the virus,person could have recurrent parotitis due to obstruction of gland duct... Consult general surgeon. Doctor need to examine swelling ,it could be other than mumps
Ask health queries and get free answers from doctors in 24 hrs

Did you know?

Above 90% cases of mumps go unreported in India

More than 90% of the mumps cases in India go unreported.

Mumps during pregnancy can cause miscarriage

Mumps during pregnancy can be dangerous, with an increased risk of miscarriage within the first 12-16 weeks.

Sometimes mumps patients do not display any symptoms

Around 20% - 30% of the people do not have any symptoms and nearly 40% people have respiratory symptoms without infection in the salivary glands.

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Home Remedies

Keep Yourself Hydrated

Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration caused by high fever. It would be wise to avoid avoid fruit juices as they stimulate the production of saliva, which is painful for someone with mumps.

Consume Soft Foods

During mumps since the salivary glands are swollen chewing on hard foods can be excruciatingly painful. Take soft foods such as soups, yogurt, which do not require much chewing. Drink plenty of orange juice diluted with warm water. When the pain subsides and you are okayed by the doctor to take solid foods, start with an all fruit diet for two days, and then gradually move to a natural food diet by including raw vegetables.

Apply Ice Packs

Applying ice packs to the swollen glands can soothe them and reduce the swelling.

Be a Couch Potato

Getting sufficient rest and sleep is necessary to hasten up the recovery process during mumps.

Gargling With Warm Salt Water

Gargling with warm salt water will provide immense relief to the swollen painful glands when you suffer from mumps.

Peepal Leaves or Fig Leaves

Peepal or fig leaves should be smeared with ghee or oil and heated over fire. The leaves can then be placed on the inflamed parts

Carrot, Grape and Pineapple Juice

Drink a mix of pineapple , grape and carrot juice. This will strengthen the immune system and is a highly effective treatment for mumps.

Avoid Acidic Foods

Avoid acidic foods like plague during mumps as these foods will only inflame the already painful glands.

Apply Paste of Black Pepper

Grind black pepper seeds and mix a little water to make it a thick paste. Apply this paste on the swollen parts during mumps. This will provide quick relief.