Mumps is spread by droplets of saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose or throat of an infected person, usually when the person coughs, sneezes or talks. Items used by an infected person, such as cups or soft drink cans, can also be contaminated with the virus, which may spread to others if those items are shared.
Most mumps transmissions likely occur before the salivary glands begin to swell and within five days after the swelling begins. Therefore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends isolating mumps patients for five days after their glands begin to swell.
Among males, mumps can lead to orchitis, a testicular inflammation that causes pain, swelling, nausea, vomiting and fever. Among some women with mumps, inflammation of the ovaries or breasts can occur. Up to 15 percent of people with mumps also may suffer headaches and stiff necks.
Anyone who experiences these symptoms should contact their health care professional immediately.
What to Do if You Become Infected with Mumps:
1. Stay at home for five days after symptoms begin.
2. Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
3. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.