Vaccinating for mumps

I have a set of twin boys who are pretty easy to tell apart right now, because one has the mumps and the other doesn’t. How can I make sure they don’t share this in the same way they share everything else?

Get your uninfected boy vaccinated. To be honest however, there’s no guarantee than an MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccination will prevent your son from “catching” the mumps. First, it will take about two weeks for him to develop antibodies to the virus. Second, he has probably already been exposed to the virus – children with mumps can be contagious for as long as seven days before their glands show swelling.

Still, it’s accepted practice to vaccinate a child who’s been exposed to mumps. Reason? If your child hasn’t actually acquired the mumps, a vaccination will protect him from subsequent exposures. If you’re not sure whether your son has already been immunized, call his health-care provider.

Note: MMR vaccination is recommended only for children who are at least one year old.

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