Mumps is a contagious viral infection that can cause:
- Painful swelling of glands in one or both sides of the face and neck
- Running nose and eyes, sore throat and ears
- Joint ache
Occasionally mumps can lead to more serious complications including a mild form of meningitis, ear infections which can lead to hearing impairment, and swelling/inflammation of the reproductive organs and the pancreas.
How do I get mumps?
Mumps can affect anyone who has not developed natural immunity to the infection, or has not been vaccinated against mumps.
The infection is spread in the same way as colds and flu – through contact with infected droplets of saliva. These can be inhaled, picked up from surfaces and transferred into the mouth or nose, or pass on through direct contact with objects which have been contaminated by the saliva of an infected person- i.e. through sharing drinks.
Students may be more at risk than other groups due to spending lots of time in close proximity, for example in halls of residence, lecture theatres and bars/nightclubs.
How do I prevent mumps?
You can prevent mumps by immunisation. In the UK, most people receive two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine as a child which helps to protect you from contracting mumps. If a child or young adult has not received two doses of MMR vaccine, this can be given at any age.
However, it is still possible to catch mumps if you have had the vaccine, especially if you are in close contact with someone who is infected.
What to do if you think you have mumps
A person is most contagious a few days before the symptoms develop and for a few days afterwards. During this time, it’s important to prevent the infection spreading to others by:
- washing your hands regularly with soap
- using and disposing of tissues when you sneeze
- avoiding contact with people for at least 5 days after your symptoms first develop
If you think you might have mumps, contact your GP in advance of going in to the surgery so they can take necessary precautions to prevent the spread of infection.
There is no specific treatment for mumps but you can use medicine and cool water to help bring down a high temperature.
If you do contract mumps, please take all the precautions you can to avoid infecting others and do not participate in University activity for 5 days from the time of developing symptoms. If you are living in University accommodation or shared housing, let your Hall Warden and flatmates know.
We also request that you contact your Support Support Coordinator (or HBS/ISLI support equivalent) to make them aware.
More information about mumps is available on the NHS webpages.