How is mumps diagnosed? What is the treatment?

Diagnosing mumps

Mumps is diagnosed by a health care provider based on:

  • your symptoms (such as swollen salivary glands),
  • your vaccination history, and
  • potential exposure to the virus that you may have had (like a recent outbreak in your community).

Your doctor will confirm the infection with a laboratory test.

Treating mumps

Because mumps is caused by a virus, rather than by bacteria, antibiotics cannot treat the infection. Since the illness is mild, health care providers usually let it run its course.

Your doctor will likely:

  • give you medication (such as pain relievers) to reduce your fever and make you more comfortable, and
  • tell you to drink plenty of fluids, eat healthy foods and get lots of rest to help the body fight off the infection.

Sick children and adults should stay home from school and work for at least 5 days after the swelling starts. To help stop the spread of mumps they should also:

  • avoid close contact with other household members (such as kissing and hugging),
  • avoid sharing drinking glasses or utensils,
  • cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue or their forearm, and
  • wash their hands often.

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