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Signs and Symptoms of Mumps

Mumps is a viral disease that affects the parotid salivary glands, which are located below and in front of the ears.  When these glands become infected with the mumps virus, the parotid glands swell, making the person look like a hamster with food in its cheeks.  Mumps is a fairly rare disease in the U.S. at this time, with less than 1000 cases per year.  We have put together a list of common signs and symptoms of mumps below.

Also, we have information on diagnosis, helpful books and valuable resources for patients.

The Most Common Signs and Symptoms of Mumps include:

  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever of up to 103 degrees, 39.4 degrees C
  • Swelling and pain in the parotid glands, sometimes on one side only
  • Swollen puffy cheeks
  • Weakness
  • Malaise
  • Pain with chewing and swallowing
  • Pain upon drinking acidic juices
  • Dry mouth
  • Sore face
  • Sore ears

Most cases of mumps occur in children age five to fourteen.  The proportion of mumps in young adults has been rising, however.  Mumps is still a common disease in many parts of the world.  Rare complications include swelling and inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) and swelling and inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis).  For most people, mumps is a self-limiting disease, and it runs its course without any further treatment apart from pain medication.

Diagnosis of Mumps

A diagnosis of mumps is made through a physical examination and a virus culture or blood test.  A blood test can confirm the presence of mumps antibodies.  Mumps has become a fairly rare disease, so if you or your child have any signs or symptoms of mumps, you should see a doctor to determine whether it is indeed mumps, or some other more serious condition.

Books and Articles For Parents of Children With Signs and Symptoms of Mumps

No Measles, No Mumps for Me (Let’s Read-And-Find-Out Science)
Paul Showers
If a Hippo Had Mumps
Nicholas Austin

Despite vaccine, U.S. may see more of the mumps.(Infectious Diseases): An article from: Family Practice News
Joyce Frieden
Mumps (Deadly Diseases and Epidemics)
Alan Hecht

Mumps Resources

General Patient Resources

  • Centers For Disease Control and Prevention

Clinical Information for Healthcare Professionals. Mumps references and resources, provider education tools, and materials for patients.

  • American Academy of Pediatrics

Quick facts, popular resources and outbreak information.

  • Medicine Net . com

Mumps treatment focuses on providing relief of symptoms (swollen cheeks, fever, headache). Read about complications, diagnosis, MMR vaccine, history and prevention.

  • MD Junction

Mumps Forums. Discussions, Q&A and friends dealing with Mumps.

  • E Health Forum

Welcome to the Measles and Mumps Forum – a health community featuring member and doctor discussions ranging from a specific symptom to related conditions, treatment options, medication, side effects, diet, and emotional issues surrounding medical conditions.

Medical Resources

  • Mayo Clinic

Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, causes, treatment, prevention of this viral illness.

  • Pub Med Health

Reviews causes, symptoms, risk factors, treatment, prognosis and complications.

  • Medline Plus

A service of the US National Library of Medicine.