Mumps is a contagious viral illness that spreads by droplets of saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose, or throat of an infected person, usually when the person coughs, sneezes or talks. Anyone who is not immune from either previous mumps infection or from vaccination can get mumps. UHS encourages all students to make sure you’ve had two doses of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.
Early symptoms usually begin 16 to 18 days after infection and are similar to those of the flu: fever, headache, muscle aches, and fatigue. Swelling of the cheek and jaw area (salivary glands) usually follows and is a classic symptom of mumps.
People who show symptoms usually recover after a week or two, but mumps can occasionally cause serious complications. The most common complication is inflammation of the testicles in males. Other rare complications include: inflammation of the brain and/or tissue covering the brain and spinal cord; inflammation of the ovaries and/or breasts in females; and deafness.
There is no treatment for mumps, but symptoms can be soothed by getting plenty of bed rest, taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, and drinking plenty of fluids.
Stay home from school, work, or similar activities for five days to prevent further spread of the disease. Don’t attend class or labs, go to work, use public transportation, or socialize with others during this five-day period. Mouth and nose should be covered during any sneezing or coughing and hands should be washed frequently.