Mumps: When should one seek medical advice?

By  , Expert Content
Jul 18, 2012

Mumps is a self-limiting viral illness. Symptoms improve in most cases with self care and medications to relieve pain and fever in a few days without any serious complications. In some cases it may cause severe symptoms or even involve other organs such as testes, pancreas, brain and/or tissue covering the brain and spinal cord, ovaries, breast besides salivary gland and cause complications.

Consult a doctor if an adult or child with mumps develops any of the following conditions:

  • Symptoms of mumps such as fever, swelling and pain in parotid gland do not improve in a few days or you develop new symptoms suggestive of complication.
  • Dehydration; symptoms suggestive of dehydration include dry mucous membranes, dry skin, sunken eyes, reduced frequency of urination, change in mental status.
  • Severe lethargy or malaise or listlessness.
  • Swelling or pain in the testicles (occurs due to orchitis i.e. inflammation or swelling of the testicles).
  • High temperature (fever of 380C or 1000F or above) for more than 2 to 3 days.
  • Continuous vomiting or repeated vomiting because of which he or she is unable to keep any fluids down.
  • Bothersome lower-abdominal pain with fever (may be due to oophoritis i.e. inflammation or swelling of the ovaries).
  • Sudden onset of pain in centre of upper abdomen (with or without nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, fever—these symptoms are suggestive of pancreatitis).
  • Symptoms suggestive of meningitis such as severe headache, pain in neck or stiff neck, sensitivity to light (photophobia), headache, nausea and vomiting.
  • Symptoms suggestive of inflammation or infection of brain such as altered consciousness, seizures, sensitivity to light (photophobia), headache, nausea and vomiting.

Mumps in pregnancy

If you are pregnant consult a doctor immediately if you have mumps. Mumps infection in the first few weeks of pregnancy (12-16 week of pregnancy) slightly increases the risk of miscarriage. However there is no evidence to suggest that mumps increases the risk of birth defects.

Who to consult

Some health professionals who can be consulted for mumps include:

  • Family doctor
  • Physician
  • Nurse practitioner (a nurse who has advanced training for care of patients)
  • Physician assistant
  • Paediatrician.



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