Help Prevent the Spread of Mumps | Capital University


Mumps Prevention

  • Help Prevent the Spread of Mumps

    A Message from the Center for Health and Wellness

    Spring is finally here, which means we’re approaching the end of flu season. But just because temperatures are rising doesn’t mean you can let your guard down against communicable diseases.   

    In recent weeks, public health officials in Franklin County have seen an increase in confirmed mumps cases. So we’re partnering with public health officials to take preventative measures to stop the spread of infection by encouraging you to educate yourself about the disease, signs and symptoms, how you can limit your risk of infection, and what to do if you get sick. Please read through the information below, which is provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    What is mumps?

    Mumps is a contagious disease caused by the mumps virus. Anyone who is not immune from either previous mumps infection or from vaccination can get mumps.

    What are the symptoms?

    Mumps typically starts with a few days of: 

    • Fever 
    • Headache 
    • Muscle aches 
    • Tiredness 
    • Loss of appetite 
    • Swelling of salivary glands under the ears or jaw, on one or both sides of the face    

    Symptoms usually occur 14 to 18 days after infection. The time between infection and illness can be as short as 12 days or as long as 25 days.

    Most people recover fully from mumps, but complications can develop, and some of them can be serious. Complications may occur even if you don’t have swollen salivary glands, and are more common in people who have reached puberty. So if you think you may have mumps, it's important to contact the Center for Health and Wellness at 614-236-6114 or your health care provider. 

    How does it spread?

    Mumps spreads from person to person, usually when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks while in contact with others, who then breathe in the virus. Items used by an infected person, such as cups or soft drink cans, and common surfaces like doorknobs and counter, can also be contaminated with the virus, which may spread to others if those items are shared, or if someone touches the contaminated surface and rubs their mouth or nose. People with mumps are usually contagious from two days before to five days after they develop symptoms. A person is most contagious just before symptoms appear.

    How can I keep from getting sick?

    The best way to protect yourself from getting sick is immunization. The MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine should be routinely given when children are 12-15 months old, and a second dose should be given when they are 4-6 years old. Two doses of the vaccine are more effective against mumps than one dose and prevent most, but not all, cases of mumps and mumps complications.

    If you haven’t been immunized against mumps talk to your health care provider about getting immunized. If you don’t know whether you’ve been immunized, or how many doses you’ve been given, check with your health care provider. Also, wash your hands properly and often, and don’t share personal items. 

    What should I do if I think I’ve been exposed or that I’m sick with mumps?

    If you develop symptoms of mumps, please stay home from work, school, sports and all public gatherings for five days after symptoms start. Seek medical care to be properly diagnosed. You can schedule an appointment with the Center for Health and Wellness. Faculty and staff with mumps symptoms should contact their private health care providers.

    If you are exposed to mumps and have been vaccinated, you are less likely to develop the disease. But you should get a second dose or begin the vaccine series to lessen the severity of illness or decrease the spread to others. People with mumps are usually contagious from two days before to five days after they develop symptoms. If you have mumps:

    • Stay home and away from public places for five days after symptoms start, and try stay away from other people who live in your house or residence hall. 
    • Minimize close contact with other people, especially babies and people with weakened immune systems who cannot be vaccinated. 
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and put your used tissue in the trashcan. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands. 
    • Wash your hands well and often with soap. 
    • Don’t share drinks or eating utensils. 
    • Regularly clean surfaces that are frequently touched (such as doorknobs, tables, counters) with soap and water or with cleaning wipes. 

    Your health is very important to us. If you have any questions about mumps or any other health matter, please call us. We’re here to help.


    Dr. Cathy McDaniels-Wilson, ABPP 
    Director of University Counseling and Health Services 
     Capital University Center for Health and Wellness