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Mumps is a viral infection that causes inflammation of the parotid glands. Parotid glands help to make saliva (spit). They are located in front of and below each ear. The mumps virus is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It is also spread through direct contact, such as sharing cups or toys.



  • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen: These medicines decrease pain and fever. You can buy them without a doctor's order. Ask how much to give to your child and how often to give it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly. Ibuprofen can cause stomach bleeding and kidney damage if not taken correctly.
  • MMR vaccine helps prevent measles, mumps, and rubella. Children 1 year or older need 2 doses. Doses are usually given between 12 and 15 months and again between 4 and 6 years.
  • Give your child's medicine as directed. Call your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
  • Do not give aspirin to children under 18 years of age. Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he takes aspirin. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin, salicylates, or oil of wintergreen.

Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your child's visits.

Manage your child's symptoms:

  • Give your child plenty of liquids: This will help prevent dehydration. Ask how much your child should drink each day. Give your child water, juice, or broth instead of sports drinks. He may need an oral rehydration solution (ORS). An ORS has the right amounts of water, salts, and sugar your child needs to replace body fluids. Ask your child's primary healthcare provider where you can get ORS.
  • Give your child soft foods to eat: These include cooked cereal, rice, mashed potatoes, applesauce, or soup. Do not serve foods that are sour or hard to chew. This can cause an increase in saliva and make your child's pain worse.
  • Help your child rest: Your child should rest as much as possible and get plenty of sleep.
  • Use ice: Ice helps decrease swelling and pain. Ice may also help prevent tissue damage. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel and place it on your child's swollen glands for 15 to 20 minutes every hour as directed.
  • Avoid the spread of germs: Keep your child away from others. He will need to stay home from school or daycare until the pain and swelling are gone. This usually takes about 10 days.

Contact your child's primary healthcare provider if:

  • Your child's swollen glands are red for more than 8 days.
  • Your child has trouble eating and drinking.
  • Your child's testicles are red, swollen, or painful.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • Your child suddenly cannot hear.
  • Your child has abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting.
  • Your child is confused or has a seizure.
  • Your child has a severe headache that is not relieved by pain medicine.
  • Your child has a stiff neck.
  • Your child has trouble breathing or is breathing faster than normal.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.