What are mumps? Signs and symptoms of the viral illness

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Health officials say the MMR vaccine is the best protection for the mumps. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Mumps is a viral infection that swells the salivary glands, resulting in puffy cheeks and a swollen jaw, the CDC says.

The disease can be spread through saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose or throat.

That means infected people who are coughing, sneezing, talking and sharing food or other items with you could expose you to mumps.

What are the symptoms of mumps?
If you believe you may have been exposed to mumps, watch for these common symptoms:
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swollen and tender salivary glands under the ears on one or both sides (parotitis)

Symptoms usually appear two weeks to a month after infection. Most people usually recover from mumps in a few weeks.

How to protect yourself from mumps
The best protection against mumps is the MMR vaccine, which also protects against measles and rubella.

The CDC says children should get two doses of the MMR vaccine, first at 12 to 15 months of age, and again between 4 and 6 years old.

Health officials said teens and adults should also ensure they are up to date on their vaccinations.
Related Topics:
healthcdcu.s. & worldillnessinfectionmumpsvaccines
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