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Mumps - Topic Overview

How is mumps diagnosed?

Mumps is usually diagnosed based on symptoms and a history of exposure to the virus. If needed, a blood test can be done to confirm that you have mumps and rule out other illnesses.

The mumps virus can be identified with a viral culture using a sample of urine, saliva, or cerebrospinal fluid. These tests are rarely done.

If you think that you or your child has mumps, be sure to call ahead and explain the symptoms before you go to a doctor's office. It's important to stay away from other people as much as you can so that you don't spread the disease.

How is it treated?

In most cases, people recover from mumps with rest and care at home. In complicated cases, a hospital stay may be required.

If you or your child has mumps:

  • Take medicine to help relieve fever or headache, if needed. Follow all instructions on the label. If you give medicine to a baby, follow your doctor's advice about what amount to give. Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 20 because of the risk of Reye syndrome.
  • Use ice or a heat pack (whichever feels better) on swollen, painful areas. Put a thin towel under the ice or heat to protect the skin.
  • Drink extra fluids to help reduce fever and prevent dehydration.
  • Suck on ice chips or flavored ice pops. Eat soft foods that don't require chewing.
  • Don't eat sour foods or drink sour liquids.

Anyone who has mumps should stay out of school, day care, work, and public places until 5 days after the salivary glands first start to swell.1

In general, you don't need to separate the sick person from the rest of the family. By the time mumps is diagnosed, most household members have already been exposed.

Why is it important to prevent mumps?

Getting your child vaccinated is important, because mumps can sometimes cause serious problems. It's also important because mumps is a contagious disease, and outbreaks can easily occur.

False claims in the news have made some parents concerned about a link between autism and vaccines. But studies have found no link between them.2

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 08, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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