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Salivary Gland Swelling and Other Mumps Symptoms

In many cases, swelling of the salivary glands is the first symptom of mumps (see Pictures of Mumps). The parotid salivary glands (which are located within your cheek, near your jawline, and below your ears) are most frequently affected. Swelling of the parotid gland is a condition known as parotitis.
This swelling gradually gets worse over one to three days, with the swelling fading after about one week. The swelling can extend from the ear to the chin, and often pushes the ear up. The glands may be painful and tender to touch.
In about two-thirds of cases, the salivary gland swelling is on both sides of the face. The swelling on the other side usually begins after the first side is fading, or about four to five days after mumps symptoms begin.
This swelling of the salivary gland can cause difficulty eating, swallowing, and talking.

Complications of Mumps

Several complications can occur as a result of mumps. These include: 
  • Inflammation of the testes (orchitis)
  • Inflammation of the brain and/or tissue covering the brain and spinal cord (encephalitis and meningitis, respectively)
  • Inflammation of the ovaries and/or breasts (oophoritis and mastitis, respectively)
  • Spontaneous abortion, particularly in early pregnancy (miscarriage)
  • Deafness, usually permanent
  • Pancreatitis.
With the exception of deafness, these complications are more common among adults than children.
(Click Complications of Mumps for more information.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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