What you need to know

  • Mumps is a serious disease that is highly contagious.
  • Not all children will show symptoms – especially young children. 
  • If you think your child has mumps, phone your doctor's office first to avoid spreading the disease to people in the waiting room. 
  • Immunisation is the best and only way to prevent mumps. Check your child's immunisation records and make sure your whānau has been immunised too.

Mumps spreads through the air from person-to-person by coughing, sneezing, and talking, or by touching a surface with infected saliva or mucusIt can take two to four weeks for your child to get sick with mumps after being in contact with an infected person.


Some children – especially young children – can have mumps without symptoms.

Symptoms can include:

  • swelling and soreness of the salivary glands at the side of your child's face 
  • fever (usually lasts one to six days) 
  • headache 
  • feeling unwell 
  • tiredness 
  • muscle aches 
  • loss of appetite.

(The Immunisation Advisory Centre)

What to do if your child has mumps

If you think your child may have mumps:

  • keep your child at home for at least five days after the swelling starts   
  • don’t send your child to day care or school for at least five days or longer (until they are feeling better)
  • call your doctor to check if your child needs to be seen.

Don't go to your doctor's clinic without phoning first, because mumps can spread easily to others in the waiting room.

Caring for your child at home

  • Provide lots of fluids to help them feel better and to prevent dehydration.
  • Offer soft foods like soup or porridge, if your child has sore glands.
  • Give your child pain relief, as needed. Make sure to follow the dosage instructions and check to make sure the medication has not expired.
  • Keep your child home until they are well and your doctor says they can return to school or daycare.


Immunisation is the best way to protect your tamariki from mumps, and it's better to be immunised when you're a child. The disease can be more serious if you get it as a teenager or adult, as it can affect fertility. 

  • Check your child had their MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccination when it's due at 12 months and 15 months. You may have this recorded in your child’s Well Child Tamariki Ora book, or you can phone your GP or nurse to check your childs health records.  
  • If your little one hasn’t had both MMR immunisations, get them vaccinated, along with other family members.
  • Make sure you are vaccinated. If you are born before 1969 (and you’re 50 or older), you are considered to have immunity. 

The Immunisation Advisory Centre

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Provides information about vaccine-preventable diseases and the benefits and risks of immunisation.