Vaccine (Shot) for Mumps

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Two doses of the MMR shot are recommended by doctors as the best way to protect against measles, mumps, and rubella.

When should my child get the MMR shot?

One dose at each of the following ages:

Before traveling to another country, infants 6 to 11 months should get 1 dose of the MMR shot.

Why should my child get the MMR shot?

  • Protects your child from mumps, a potentially serious disease, as well as measles and rubella.
  • Protects your child from getting a fever and swollen glands under the ears or jaw from mumps.
  • Keeps your child from missing school or childcare and you from missing work.
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Almost everyone who has not had the MMR shot will get mumps if they are exposed to the mumps virus.

Mumps shots are safe.

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The mumps shots are very safe, and are effective at preventing mumps. Vaccines like any medicine, can have side effects. These are usually mild and go away on their own.

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There is no link between the MMR shot and autism.
Scientists in the United States and other countries have carefully studied the MMR shot. None has found a link between autism and the MMR shot.

What are the side effects of the shot?

Most children don’t have any side effects from the shot. The side effects that do occur are usually mild, and may include:

  • Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
  • Fever
  • Mild rash
  • Temporary pain and stiffness in the joints

More serious side effects are rare. These may include high fever that could cause a seizure.

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Prepare for your child's vaccine visit and learn about how you can:

  • Research vaccines and ready your child before the visit
  • Comfort your child during the appointment
  • Care for your child after the shot
Before, During, and After Shots

What is mumps?

Mumps spreads easily through coughing and sneezing. There is no treatment for mumps, and it can cause long-term health problems.

Mumps is best known for the puffy cheeks and swollen jaw that it causes.

What are the symptoms of mumps?

Mumps usually causes the following symptoms for about 7 to 10 days:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Musc­­le aches
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of appetite (not wanting to eat)
  • Swollen glands under the ears or jaw

Some people who get mumps do not have symptoms. Others may feel sick
but will not have swollen glands.

Is it serious?

Mumps can be dangerous. Before there was a vaccine, mumps was one of the most common causes of deafness and meningitis. Mumps can also lead to encephalitis.

In most children, mumps is pretty mild. But it can cause serious, lasting problems, including:

  • Meningitis (swelling of the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord)
  • Deafness (temporary or permanent)
  • Encephalitis (swelling of the brain)
  • 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.

How does mumps spread?

Mumps is contagious. Mumps can spread through the saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose, or throat of an infected person when he or she:

  • coughs, sneezes, or talks.
  • shares items, such as cups or eating utensils, with others.
  • touches objects or surfaces with unwashed hands that are then touched by others.

Mumps can spread before swollen glands appear and up to 5 days afterward.

Follow the vaccine schedule

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Academy of Family Physicians, and the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommend children receive all vaccines according to the recommended vaccine schedule.

Page last reviewed: August 2, 2019