Treating mumps 

There are currently no medications to treat the mumps virus. Instead, treatment is focused on relieving symptoms until your body’s immune system fights off the infection.

The infection will usually pass within a week or two.

In the meantime, the self-care techniques listed below may help.

  • get plenty of bed rest until your symptoms have passed
  • take over-the-counter painkillers, such as ibuprofen or paracetamol, to relieve any pain (children aged 16 or under should not be given aspirin)
  • drink plenty of fluids, but avoid acidic drinks such as fruit juice as these can irritate your parotid glands; water is usually the best fluid to drink
  • apply a warm or cool compress to your swollen glands to help reduce any pain
  • eat foods that don't require a lot of chewing, such as soup, mashed potatoes and scrambled eggs

If your symptoms don’t improve after seven days, or suddenly worsen, contact your GP for advice.

Preventing the spread of infection

If you or your child has mumps, it’s important to prevent the infection spreading, particularly to younger people born between 1980 and 1990 (these people are unlikely to have immunity due to previous infection, but are also unlikely to have been vaccinated).

The best way to do this is to:

  • stay away from school, college or work until five days after you first developed symptoms
  • wash your hands regularly, using soap and water
  • always use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze, and throw the tissue in a bin immediately afterwards

Page last reviewed: 20/08/2013

Next review due: 20/08/2015