Stay Protected Against Mumps
What are Mumps?
Mumps is an infection of the glands that produce saliva. It is caused by a virus, and is most common in winter and spring. Mumps is a vaccine preventable disease. Cases of mumps are now uncommon because of routine childhood vaccinations.
Mumps is Infectious - Get the Vaccine to Stay Protected
The measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine is a three-in-one needle that protects against mumps. Learn more about the MMR vaccine.
It should be given to children soon after their first birthday and a second dose at 18 months of age, according to the Recommended Immunization Schedule for Ontario
Young Adults are at the Highest Risk of Infection
Four out of five young adults born in Ontario between 1970 and 1991 are not fully protected against mumps. Young adults have the highest risk of infection because they tend to live, work, and socialize in close proximity - especially those who attend post-secondary schools. Learn more.
Vaccination against measles, mumps, and rubella is required by law for all children attending school in Ontario (unless exempted). Check your Immunization Record (yellow card) or contact your health care provider if you are unsure.
Symptoms of Mumps
- Head and muscle aches
- Swelling or pain of the gland at the angle of the jaw
- Rarely, mumps can lead to complications such as meningitis, inflammation of the testicles, ovaries, or pancreas; hearing loss
How soon do symptoms appear?
Symptoms of mumps usually appear 12-25 days after close contact of an infected person.
How does it spread?
- By direct contact with secretions from the nose or throat or through salvia, coughing, sneezing, sharing drinks, kissing or contact with contaminated surfaces
- Stay home if you have mumps; do not go to childcare, school, work or other public places
How long is a person contagious?
A person with the virus can infect others up to 7 days before symptoms appear until 5 days after the appearance of swelling
What do I do if I come into contact with someone who may have mumps?
- If you have no symptoms continue to participate in regular activities
- If you become symptomatic, contact your physician and inform them you were exposed to a case of mumps recently, they will administer tests for mumps.
- Isolate yourself at home for 5 days and call public health
When can a person return to daycare/school/work?
A person may return to regular duties 5 days after symptoms of swelling first appeared.
How is it diagnosed?
Mumps is diagnosed through a blood test, throat swab, and urine tests.
What is the treatment?
There is no treatment for mumps. Most people will recover within 2 weeks of becoming ill. The following can be done to help relieve symptoms:
- Tylenol® (or Tempra®) can be given for fevers. Do not give aspirin to a child or teenager
- Avoid sour foods or liquids because they salivary glands are sensitive to sour tastes
- Avoid foods that require a lot of chewing. Instead, try soft foods such as oatmeal or mashed potatoes, or suck on popsicles or ice chips
- To ease pain, hot or cold packs can be applied
How can the Mumps be prevented?
- Cleaning your hands is the best way to prevent the spread of infection
- Practice routine cleaning and disinfection. Objects and surfaces that are frequently touched (toys, doorknobs, counters) should be cleaned with soap and water or other recommended cleaning agents
- Avoid sharing of utensils and drinks
- Ensure your immunization record is up-to-date. Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) vaccine can prevent mumps. A MMR vaccination is given routinely at the age of one year and again at 18 months
- Mumps vaccination is required to enter elementary school; two doses are recommended
People are considered protected if they have the following:
- at least two documented doses of MMR vaccine on or after their first birthday
- proof of having mumps diagnosed by a doctor
- blood work indicating immunity to mumps
Please contact Niagara Region Public Health, Infectious Disease Program at 1-888-505-6074 or 905-688-8248 ext. 7330 if you have additional questions.
Download a Mumps factsheet