Mumps is a highly contagious viral infection that primarily affects the salivary glands, causing them to become swollen and painful. It is most commonly seen in children, but adults can also become infected. The disease is spread through contact with the saliva or respiratory secretions of an infected person, such as by coughing or sneezing.

Symptoms of mumps typically appear 2-3 weeks after exposure to the virus and can include fever, headache, muscle aches, and tiredness. The trademark symptom of mumps is swollen, tender salivary glands, which can occur on one or both sides of the face. In some cases, the virus can also cause complications such as inflammation of the testicles (orchitis) or ovaries (oophoritis) and meningitis.

Fortunately, the mumps vaccine has been highly effective in preventing the disease. It is usually given in combination with the measles and rubella vaccines (MMR) and is recommended for all children as well as adults who have not been vaccinated.

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of mumps, it is important to seek medical attention. Treatment typically involves managing symptoms and preventing further spread of the virus. While mumps can be uncomfortable, most people recover fully with no long-term complications.