Skip to Content

Mumps in Children


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.


Call 911 for any of the following:

  • Your child has a seizure.

Return to the emergency department if:

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


  • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen may help decrease pain and fever. These medicines are available 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.
  • 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.
  • Give your child's medicine as directed. Contact your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him or her 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.

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

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

Manage your child's symptoms:

  • Give your child plenty of liquids. Liquids help prevent dehydration. Ask how much liquid your child should drink each day. Give your child water, juice, or broth instead of sports drinks. He may also 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 healthcare provider where you can get ORS.
  • Give your child soft foods. 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.
  • Apply 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.

Prevent mumps:

  • Ask your child's healthcare provider about the MMR vaccine. This vaccine helps protect your child and others around him from measles, mumps, and rubella.
  • Prevent the spread of germs. Have your child stay away from others, especially anyone who is pregnant, or who has not had the MMR vaccine. Keep your child home from school or daycare until his healthcare provider says he can return.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2018 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 IBM Watson Health

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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Mumps in Children (Aftercare Instructions)

Associated drugs

IBM Watson Micromedex