Mumps Outbreaks: What You Need to Know

Before vaccination against mumps was available, it was common for children to get mumps with the tell-tale signs of mumps – lumpy cheeks and temporary speech problems. Lumps and mumbling = mumps!

Since the mumps MMR (mumps, measles, and rubella) vaccination has become part of the routine vaccination cycle for kids and adults, the number of mumps outbreaks has significantly decreased in the UK. When the majority of the population is vaccinated, mumps outbreaks involve fewer people, don’t last as long, and are less severe.

In addition to getting the MMR vaccination for mumps, here’s what you should know about mumps and what you can do to stay healthy.

What Is Mumps?

Mumps is a highly contagious airborne virus that affects the saliva glands between your ears and jaw. The virus can easily spread if someone sneezes or coughs and you breathe in that air or if you touch something they touched.

The first signs of mumps are puffy cheeks that cause people to mumble when they speak. Other mumps symptoms may include fever, body pain, fatigue, and headache which typically go away in about 2 to 3 weeks. Since there’s no cure for it, the only treatment is taking over-the-counter pain medication to relieve symptoms.

The mumps vaccination, aka the MMR vaccine, protects against mumps in addition to measles and rubella and can reduce your risk of getting mumps by nearly 90 percent.

What You Need to Know About a Mumps Outbreak

One common myth about mumps is that once you’ve had it, you can’t get it again. That’s not true. During a mumps outbreak, people who have been vaccinated can still mumps. However, if you do get mumps after receiving the vaccine, symptoms are far less severe for vaccinated people vs. unvaccinated people.

Since mumps is so easily transmittable between people, outbreaks usually take place in groups of people who live together or are with large groups of people (at work, in classrooms, or when doing team sports).

Your best defense against mumps is getting the MMR vaccine at the Miles Pharmacy Travel Clinic in Epsom. In addition to routine vaccinations, we also provide travel-related vaccinations for Hepatitis, Yellow Fever, Typhoid Fever, etc.

Click here to learn more about our travel clinic services. You can also visit us in person and speak to one of our knowledgeable staff about the vaccinations we provide.