How can one prevent Mumps?

Updated at: Jan 19, 2013
How can one prevent Mumps?

Mumps can be prevented by getting vaccinated with mumps vaccine. As the vaccine does not give 100% protection, other methods that can help to prevent the spread of disease include avoiding close contact with people with mumps, washing hands freque

Dr Poonam Sachdev
Communicable DiseasesWritten by: Dr Poonam SachdevPublished at: Aug 17, 2012

How can one prevent Mumps

Mumps is a contagious disease caused by virus. It can affect one at any age, but usually occurs most commonly in children and teens. Common symptoms of mumps infection include swelling and pain in the parotid gland (salivary glands in the cheek), headache, loss of appetite, fever, chills and malaise. Currently, there is no medication to cure mumps, but there is a vaccine that can  effectively prevent mumps.


[Read: Treatment Options for Mumps]

Vaccine: The best method to prevent mumps is by getting vaccinated with the mumps vaccine. Vaccines are drugs that help to prevent one from getting sick. Vaccines encourage the body to form antibodies that attack the specific germ against which you have received the vaccine. After getting the mumps vaccine your body develops antibodies against the mumps virus and is prepared to attack the virus when it enters your body. As vaccine does not give 100% protection i.e. you may get mumps even if you have received the vaccine.

The vaccine is usually given to children as part of routine childhood immunisation programs. Only two shots of the vaccine are given. The second dose is needed to ensure long-term protection. The vaccine can be given at the same time as other vaccines.

The vaccine is given in the arm or thigh of children at ages:

  • First dose-15 to 18 months
  • Second dose-4 to 6 years

The currently available vaccine for mumps is a live virus vaccine. It contains attenuated (weakened) mumps virus. It is a safe vaccine and its side-effects are not serious. It is available as a single preparation and in combination with measles and rubella vaccine (MMR vaccine). This vaccine provides protection against three diseases i.e. mumps, measles and rubella. Mumps vaccine is usually administered as MMR vaccine as a part of routine childhood immunisation programs.


[Read: Prognosis of Mumps]

As the vaccine does not give 100% protection, other methods are also needed to prevent the spread of the disease.

Some other ways to prevent mumps

  • Avoid close contact with people with mumps as the infection spreads by direct contact and droplet (mumps virus is present in small droplets formed when a person coughs or sneezes).
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Washing hands is a very good way to control most infections. If soap and water is not available, an alcohol-based hand sanitiser may be used.
  • Clean all surfaces that are frequently touched (such as toys, door handles, tables, counter, remote control) often to remove germs. You may use soap and water or cleaning wipes.

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