It’s possible, but it’s not very likely. Mumps is an uncommon disease today. Most people in North America were vaccinated against the disease as children. The vaccine is known as the MMR vaccine and protects against measles, mumps, and rubella. Outbreaks of mumps sometimes occur, however. The disease is more common in children than adults.
Mumps is caused by a virus that affects the parotid glands as well as other parts of the body. The virus is spread in droplets of infected saliva that have been released by someone coughing or sneezing or obtained by sharing cups, plates, and utensils. Symptoms appear two to three weeks after the virus enters the body.
Some people have no or only minor symptoms from the viral infection. Others have an unpleasant experience with the disorder. Swollen parotid glands may cause puffing up of the cheek and jaw on one or both sides of the face. The person may also have a headache, muscle aches, a fever, loss of appetite, and fatigue.
If someone suspects that they or their child has mumps, a doctor should be consulted. The condition can sometimes cause complications. These complications are rare, but they may be serious. Possible effects include inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) and loss of hearing.
If you’re waiting for a doctor’s appointment for a child or teenager who may have mumps and want to give them a pain reliever, make sure that the medicine isn’t aspirin. The combination of aspirin and a recent viral infection can cause Reye’s syndrome in children. This syndrome includes dangerous swelling of the liver and brain.