Mumps: what it is, transmission, treatment, symptoms, vaccine


What is mumps?

Mumps (mumps), also known as epidermal parotitis , is an infectious disease whose transmission occurs through the respiratory tract, through droplets of saliva, nasal secretions and close contact with infected people.

It usually affects the salivary glands, also known as parotids, causing inflammation, swelling and pain.

As there are several clusters of salivary glands around our face, including close to the ears, the disease can cause a very characteristic swelling and have as one of the possible complications, although rare, the deafness of one or both ears.

There is no specific treatment for mumps, but there are ways to prevent it. One of the main ones is through vaccination, recommended for all babies over 1 year of age.

Once the person has been infected with mumps and has healed, it is as if he had taken the vaccine, that is, he is immune. This does not mean that it is a harmless disease, as some of its complications include infertility, meningitis , encephalitis and risk of death.

You can find mumps in the International Classification of Diseases, the ICD-10, through the code B26.

Find out more about this viral infection in the text below!


Mumps is a disease caused by the mumps virus, which belongs to the Paramyxoviridae family . This virus is transmitted through saliva, mucus that can come out of the nose, for example, and through contact.

It starts to cause signs and symptoms after 16 or 18 days from the first contact (incubation period). Initially, the virus settles in the nose and throat, where it multiplies until it falls into the bloodstream and begins to affect other parts of the body.

The virus especially affects the parotid glands, known as the salivary glands, causing inflammation, pain and swelling. They are spread all over the face, including in areas close to the ears and neck, for example.

When the infection starts to manifest and cause inflammation, the patient may experience difficulty in swallowing and the disease can affect the ears, which can lead to deafness.

If not treated properly, mumps can begin to affect other parts of the body, leading to serious complications, such as meningitis and encephalitis, which can lead to death.

How is mumps transmitted?

Caused by Paramyxovirus , mumps is a highly contagious disease. Transmission occurs through direct contact with droplets of saliva from infected people, and the disease spreads more in winter and spring, especially affecting children.

The main routes of transmission are:

  • Cough;
  • Sneezing;
  • He speaks;
  • Sharing glasses and utensils with other people;
  • Do not wash your hands properly;
  • Touching contaminated objects or surfaces.

For this reason, the disease is especially transmissible in closed environments and with crowds of people. Therefore, if you or your child are infected, it is best to avoid these places to minimize the risk of spreading to others.

However, even so it is possible to prevent mumps through vaccination, which allows immune patients to be exposed to this type of situation without having to worry about contamination.

Risk factors

There are some risk factors that may leave you more exposed to mumps. Are they:

Lack of vaccination

One of the most effective ways to prevent mumps is through the vaccine. In Brazil, all children must be vaccinated against the disease. The first dose is taken when the child is 1 year old and the second dose at 15 months.

It is worth remembering that the mumps vaccine is part of the national immunization calendar and is available free of charge at health facilities across the country.

People up to 19 years old and who do not know if they have been vaccinated or should not take both doses at once and people between 9 and 49 years old should take only a single dose. People who have already been affected by the disease are not at risk of being affected by it again, as they are already immune.

Pregnant women, on the other hand, should not get the vaccine. Immunodeficient patients, on the other hand, should always consult a doctor before taking any type of vaccine.


Although it can happen at any time of the year, admittedly, mumps are more common in late winter and early spring, mainly because it is at this time that the humidity in the air is lowest and there is more dissemination of pollen (making people sneeze more and spread more droplets of saliva).

In addition, temperature changes tend to be constant and not all places value proper air circulation, increasing the risk of contracting various diseases.


The age group that is most at risk for acquiring mumps are children from 2 to 12 years old. So, remember to vaccinate your children.

Low immunity

People with low immunity are always at greater risk for viral and bacterial infections, precisely because the body is unable to fight them properly.

That is, individuals immunosuppressed due to HIV , cancer , use of oral corticosteroids or chemotherapy should be alert to outbreaks of mumps and take preventive measures, such as avoiding crowded places, if they have not been vaccinated.


In approximately 30% of cases, there are no symptoms, which facilitates the proliferation of the virus. However, when they do occur, they tend to affect the throat and respiratory system more, especially when the patient is still a child.

In the early stages, mumps can cause the following symptoms:

  • Fever;
  • Chills;
  • Headaches;
  • Pain when swallowing;
  • Weakness in the jaw;
  • Enlargement of the salivary glands close to the ears;
  • Emergence of edema and / or swelling on the face;
  • Redness in the eyes;
  • Non-specific respiratory changes, such as coughing or sneezing.

It is also possible that approximately 30% of adult men experience painful swelling in the testicles, a process called orchitis .

In women, swelling of the ovaries can occur, representing an incidence in 5% of patients. Both processes can result in infertility if they are not treated correctly.

Now, the symptoms that usually appear after 2 or 3 weeks of infection are:

  • Pain and swelling in the salivary glands, located in the neck region;
  • Malaise;
  • Sore throat;
  • Sore throat;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Nausea;
  • Vomiting.

In more severe cases, mumps can cause complications such as deafness, meningitis and, very rarely, lead the patient to death. In children under 5 years of age, if the disease is not treated correctly, hearing loss can occur.

How is the diagnosis made?

The most qualified professionals to diagnose and treat mumps are the general practitioner , pediatrician and infectologist .

First, the doctor will perform the physical examination, taking into account the patient’s history and their respective symptoms.

If mumps are suspected, the doctor will try to confirm the diagnosis through blood tests.

These tests seek to find antibodies to the mumps virus circulating in the body. When present, they report the viral infection and the diagnosis is confirmed.

Is there a cure?

Yea! Mumps is curable , although there is no specific treatment for the disease. Usually, it is chosen to relieve symptoms through the use of anti-inflammatories, antipyretics and analgesics.

The patient, then, must be closely watched to avoid possible complications.

What is the treatment?


As stated earlier, there is no specific treatment for mumps, however, it is possible to cure it. For that to happen, a series of recommendations are made by doctors. Understand:

Medications to relieve symptoms

When you have mumps, the drugs used are aimed at attacking the symptoms, so medicines of the anti-inflammatory, antipyretic and analgesic class are used. When there are complications, such as meningitis, the medications also aim to decrease the symptoms.

Hydration and rest

Especially when adults suffer from mumps, the main recommendations are rest and hydration. This must be done in order for the body to recover well from the aggressions caused by the disease.

When children are infected by the disease, it is possible that they do not have to rest as much, however, it is important that they have a light routine and avoid going to places with many people, as the disease can be transmitted very easily in these places.

Prioritize pasty food

Due to the swelling that happens in the salivary glands, which makes it difficult to eat food, a good measure to be taken is the intake of soft and pasty foods, such as porridge, vegetable cream, boiled rice, mashed potatoes , scrambled eggs and soup. .

At these times it is also important to avoid acidic foods, such as citrus fruits, as they can cause irritation.

Read more:  Açaí (fruit, in the bowl): how to make, origin, benefits, fattening?

Focus on oral hygiene

Oral hygiene is already very important in everyday life, however, it must be even more rigorous during mumps, as this prevents the emergence of new infections. That is: brush your teeth well and always rinse mouthwash.

Another tip to relieve symptoms and improve treatment is to gargle with warm water and salt, as this process helps to reduce inflammation and irritation, decreasing the healing time.

To do this, place a tablespoon of coarse salt in half a glass of warm water and mix well. Simple, isn’t it?

Warm compresses

One of the interesting ways to combat symptoms is to apply warm compresses over the swollen area several times a day. This process helps to decrease and discomfort and the swelling caused by the disease.

In adults, recovery time takes around 16 days. In children, this time is shorter, around 10 to 12 days.

To make the compresses just moisten a cloth in warm water or use thermal bags and apply to the swollen area for 10 or 15 minutes.

How do you know if you are improving?

When the treatment is taking effect, within 3 to 7 days it is already possible to notice through the reduction of swelling, pain, fever and other discomfort caused by the disease.

How do you know if it’s getting worse?

It is possible to know that the disease is getting worse when, 3 days after the start of treatment, symptoms such as pain in the private parts, intense nausea, vomiting, increased fever, increased intensity of the headache and in other parts of the body occur .

When it happens, do not hesitate to see a general practitioner as soon as possible, as this is very important to avoid complications such as meningitis, pancreatitis , deafness and infertility.

Living together

Mumps treatment involves rest, so until you start to get better, it is important to remain patient and stay in bed, at least until the fever goes away.

It is also necessary to remain isolated from other people in order to prevent the disease from spreading. In the case of pain, it is possible to use the analgesic medications prescribed by your doctor, always remembering not to use aspirin, as this medication can cause complications.

In cases of pain and discomfort, compresses of hot or cold water can help. In addition, giving preference to soft and easy-to-chew meals, avoiding acidic foods and drinking lots of water are measures to be taken to recover faster.


Among the possible medications that can be used in the treatment of mumps are:

  • Paracetamol ;
  • Ibuprofen ;
  • Prednisone ;
  • Tylenol .

Remembering that these drugs are to relieve symptoms, not to treat the disease itself.


NEVER use  aspirin for viral diseases, as its use has been linked to the development of Reye’s Syndrome, which can lead to liver failure and death.

NEVER self-medicate or stop using a medication without first consulting a doctor. Only he will be able to tell which medication, dosage and duration of treatment is the most suitable for his specific case. The information contained in this website is only intended to inform, not in any way intended to replace the guidance of a specialist or serve as a recommendation for any type of treatment. Always follow the instructions on the package insert and, if symptoms persist, seek medical or pharmaceutical advice.


Although there is no specific treatment for mumps, the prognosis is generally good. For patients who do not have immunity problems, mumps can be cured with some ease by the body, requiring only the treatment of symptoms.


Mumps can bring some complications to the body when left untreated. They are potentially serious, although they do not occur frequently. Are they:


Most mumps complications involve inflammation and swelling somewhere in the body, such as:

  • Testicles: known as orchitis, this condition is characterized by the swelling of the testicles of men who have already reached puberty. It is very painful, but it rarely leads to infertility;
  • Pancreas: known as pancreatitis, it causes symptoms such as pain in the upper abdomen, nausea and vomiting;
  • Ovaries and breasts: women who have already reached puberty may have inflammation in their ovaries, known as oophoritis or ovaritis, or in their breasts, known as mastitis. This condition rarely causes infertility;
  • Brain: viral infections, such as mumps, can lead to encephalitis, which can cause neurological problems and pose a risk of death;
  • Membranes and fluids around the brain and spinal cord: known as meningitis, this complication can happen if the mumps virus spreads through the bloodstream and infects the central nervous system.

Hearing loss

Although rare, it can happen that mumps cause the patient to lose hearing in one or both ears.


There is no scientific proof yet, but experts speculate that contracting mumps in the early stages of pregnancy can lead to miscarriage.

How to prevent mumps?

To prevent mumps, it is necessary to take some measures. The main and most efficient of these is vaccination . Understand:

Mumps vaccine

Vaccines against mumps are the triple viral , which also immunizes against measles and rubella , and viral tetra , which, in addition to rubella and measles, also immunizes against chickenpox.

They are part of the vaccination calendar and are offered free of charge by the Unified Health System (SUS). Vaccination occurs in two doses, the first when the baby is 1 year old and the other at 15 months.

From that age to 19 years old, people who do not know if they have been vaccinated can prevent themselves by taking 2 doses at once. People aged 19 and 49 should take a single dose.

Read more:  can having a vaccine cause autism?

Still, there are restrictions on the use of the vaccine. Understand:

Who should take it?

People who should get the vaccine are:

  • Women who are not pregnant;
  • School-age children;
  • Hospital, school and daycare workers;
  • People who travel to places where there may be a risk of infection.

Who should not get the vaccine?

Always talk to your doctor or health care professional to assess each case, but in general you should not get the vaccine if:

  • You are pregnant, especially during the initial weeks;
  • You are allergic to gelatin;
  • You are allergic to the antibiotic neomycin;
  • Has a compromised immune system;
  • If you are taking steroids or undergoing chemotherapy, unless the benefits outweigh the risks of vaccination.

Who doesn’t need to get the vaccine?

You do not need to get the vaccine if:

  • You’ve had the vaccine before;
  • He’s already been infected with mumps.

Side effects of the vaccine

Most people do not experience any side effects due to the vaccine, however, some may experience mild fever, rashes and joint pain for a short period of time.

There is no scientific evidence that linking the mumps vaccine to autism .

Common questions

Is it possible to get mumps more than once?

Rarely . Usually, when you have been infected once, you will not be infected again. However, if the infection manifests itself on only one side, it may happen again on the other side.

Will I be fully immunized with the mumps vaccine?

More or less . Whoever was vaccinated against mumps is immune against the disease. If you are unsure whether or not you got the vaccine, you can get it again.

However, doses of the triple viral vaccine are not very effective against mumps. Approximately, only 60% of people are immunized with a single dose and 80% with two doses.

In addition, the vaccine’s effectiveness has been lost over the years.

What can’t you do with mumps?

During mumps infection it is important to stay in bed, not to eat foods that need a lot of chewing or acidic foods, and to avoid places with crowds of people or very closed, as you can transmit the disease forward.

How long can I transmit mumps?

From the moment the person is infected, he is already able to transmit the virus. After she is cured, she stops transmitting. This period varies between 7 and 9 days, being that it is more infectious during the 1st and 5th day of infection.

How do you know if the mumps went down to the testicles?

Mumps can affect the testicles and generate an inflammation called orchitis. Some signs that must be observed to identify the involvement of the region involve fever, excessive sweating in the intimate region, burning and burning near the testicles, in addition to swelling and, in some cases, the presence of blood in the urine.

Can mumps make a man sterile?

If both testicles are severely affected by mumps, yes, the man can become sterile or infertile . However, this happens rarely , since the most common is that the mumps affects only one testicle, maintaining the normal function of what was not affected. In other words, the man, in this case, is not infertile.