Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus. Initial symptoms may be present within a few days. Serious complications from the virus are rare.

Signs & Symptoms

You may experience fever, headache, muscle aches. tiredness, and loss of appetite, followed by swollen salivary glands. Symptoms can usually appear 16 – 18 days after infection, but this period can range from 12 – 25 days after infection. Swelling of the salivary gland can be on one or both sides of the face. Symptoms can last 7 to 10 days. Some people who get mumps experience very mild or no symptoms. For most people, complete recovery occurs within a few weeks.


Mumps can be spread through saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose, or throat. An infected person could spread the virus by

  • Coughing, sneezing, or talking
  • Sharing items, such as cups or eating utensils, with others
  • Touching objects or surfaces with unwashed hands that are then touched by others

It is important to note that mumps is likely to spread before the salivary glands begin to swell and up to five days after the swelling begins.


The best method to prevent getting mumps is by receiving the MMR vaccine. The vaccine is very safe and effective. You can help prevent the virus from spreading by

  • Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or use your upper sleeve or elbow when coughing or sneezing.
  • Washing your hands with soap and water.
  • Avoid sharing drinks or eating utensils.
  • Disinfecting frequently touched surfaces such as toys, doorknobs, tables, counters.


Mumps can occasionally cause complications, especially in adults. These complications include:

  • Inflammation of the testicles in males who have reached puberty
  • Inflammation of the brain
  • Inflammation of the meninges
  • Inflammation of the ovaries and/or breast tissue
  • Deafness

Helpful link

Cover your cough 

If you suspect you may have mumps, please seek medical care immediately.