Signs, symptoms & GP treatment for cases of mumps in a child

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Mumps is a contagious, viral disease involving the painful & visible swelling of the parotid glands, near the ears. The mumps virus was once a common childhood disease, but is now much rarer due to vaccination.

If you suspect that your child has mumps, please give us a call to make an appointment to bring them in to see a GP. The doctor will examine your child & discuss their symptoms with you in order to make a diagnosis. In some cases, testing will be recommended. If any medication is required, you will be given a prescription before you leave the clinic. Where necessary, referrals are included in the cost of your consultation.


Mumps has a long incubation period, which means that symptoms will not show up until 2-3 weeks after becoming infected with the virus. It is more common in children & young adults who have not been vaccinated.

The main symptom of mumps is a swollen & painful parotid gland, on one or both sides of the face. This is a salivary gland, one located just in front of the ears, & two more along the jawline. With the mumps virus these glands can swell up very noticeably & visibly, causing the infected person to have a temporarily swollen & misshapen face shape. In a third of cases, mumps has no symptoms at all.

Other symptoms of mumps include:
fever (temperature of 38C or higher
dry mouth
painful chewing or swallowing
sore or aching muscles
abdominal pain
lack of appetite
joint pain

Mumps is not usually a serious condition, & cases will eventually clear up on their own. Nonetheless, it is important that you make an appointment to see a GP if you think your child has mumps, because it shares symptoms with some more serious infections (such as glandular fever & tonsillitis), & it is important to get a correct diagnosis. Other possible conditions that could have symptoms in common with mumps are blocked salivary glands, & other viral infections.

There is no cure for mumps, & the infection usually passes within a week or two. Serious complications resulting from mumps are rare, but the virus can lead to viral meningitis (swelling of the brain), testicular swelling (orchitis) or ovarian inflammation (oophoritis) in post-puberty patients. It can also cause hearing loss & heart problems.

Mumps is highly contagious, especially in the first week or so after symptoms first appear. Once you’ve been infected with the mumps virus, you will have lifelong immunity.


How do you get mumps?

Mumps is an infectious disease, & is transmitted the same way as a cold or flu – via an infected person’s droplets of saliva, which may be found on surfaces such as door handles or cups, or which can be inhaled if the person coughs or sneezes.

How is mumps treated?

There is no cure for mumps, although it is important to get a proper diagnosis & care instructions from a doctor, as mumps can share symptoms with other serious conditions. The virus usually clears up on its own after a couple of weeks.

Will I be able to get a same-day appointment?

We can almost always offer same-day & walk-in appointments. We always recommend that you call us in advance of your visit in order to avoid waiting times.