How can mumps be prevented?

The most important way to prevent mumps is to make sure that you and your family members are vaccinated. Mumps can easily be prevented through 2 doses of the mumps-containing vaccine. These vaccines are safe, effective and available free of charge to Canadians.

The mumps vaccine is part of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) or measles-mumps-rubella-varicella (MMRV) vaccine. This vaccine is given by needle to children between 12 and 15 months of age and again at 18 months of age, or any time before a child starts school.

The time at which the vaccine is given will depend on your province or territory's immunization schedule.

The side effects of the MMR and MMRV vaccines are usually minor. A child's arm or leg might be a bit red or sore where the needle went in. A child may also have mild symptoms such as:

  • fussiness,
  • a slight fever,
  • a skin rash, or
  • tenderness on either side of the neck.

These side effects usually occur 12 to 24 hours after the immunization, and go away within a few days.

Prevention for travellers

Mumps is a very common infection in many parts of the world. If you are planning to travel abroad:

  • visit your health care provider at least 6 weeks before you leave,
  • make sure your immunizations are up to date for you and your children, and
  • check the Public Health Agency of Canada's Travel Health Notices webpage for notices regarding mumps.

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