Mumps: Be Sure Your Child Is Fully Immunized
Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus. Infected people can spread mumps when they breathe, cough, and sneeze. They can also spread it by sharing items such as cups and eating utensils, and touching surfaces that are then touched by others. There is no treatment for mumps, and it can cause long-term health problems. People in the United States still get mumps, and outbreaks continue to occur.
Protect Your Child with Mumps Vaccine
Mumps vaccine is the best way to protect your child against mumps. It is usually given as part of a combination vaccine that protects against three diseases: measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR). The MMR vaccine is safe and effective.
Mumps typically starts with fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite. Then, most people will have swelling of their salivary glands. This is what causes the puffy cheeks and a tender, swollen jaw.
Children should get two doses of MMR vaccine:
- the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and
- the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age.
Your child's doctor may also offer the MMRV vaccine, a combination vaccine that protects against four diseases: measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (chickenpox). Talk to your child's healthcare professional for help deciding which vaccine to use.
Mumps outbreaks can still occur in highly vaccinated U.S. communities, particularly in close-contact settings such as schools, colleges, and camps. However, high vaccination coverage helps to limit the size, duration, and spread of mumps outbreaks, making it that much more important to get your child vaccinated on schedule. Learn more about vaccination options for preventing mumps.
Protect yourself against Mumps
Anyone born during or after 1957, who has never had mumps or has never been vaccinated, is at risk for mumps. They should get at least one dose of the MMR vaccine. Two doses are recommended for adults at higher risk, such as students in college, trade school, and training programs; international travelers; and healthcare professionals.
Paying for Mumps Vaccine
Most health insurance plans cover the cost of vaccines. However, you may want to check with your insurance provider before going to the doctor. Learn how to pay for vaccines.
If you don't have health insurance, or if your insurance does not cover vaccines for your child, the Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program may be able to help. This program helps families of eligible children who might not otherwise have access to vaccines. To find out if your child is eligible, visit the VFC website or ask your child’s doctor. You can also contact your state VFC coordinator
Mumps Can be Serious
In most children, mumps is pretty mild. But it can cause serious, long-lasting problems including:
- encephalitis (swelling of the brain),
- meningitis (swelling of the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord),
- loss of hearing (temporary and permanent),
- orchitis (swelling of the testicles) in males who have reached puberty,
- oophoritis (swelling of the ovaries) and/or mastitis (swelling of the breasts) in females who have reached puberty.
In rare cases, mumps is deadly.
To learn more about mumps, outbreaks, and the MMR and MMRV vaccines, visit:
- About Mumps (Información general sobre las paperas)
- Mumps Fact Sheet [264 KB]
- Mumps Cases and Outbreaks
- Mumps Vaccination
- MMR (Measles, Mumps, & Rubella) Vaccine: What You Need to Know (Vaccine Information Statement) English or other languages
- Vaccination Options for Preventing Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Varicella
- Brief Answers to Common Questions: Vaccines for Children Program (VFC)
- Parents' Guide to Childhood Immunizations
- Page last reviewed: August 18, 2014
- Page last updated: August 18, 2014
- Content source:
- National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Division of Viral Diseases
- Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs