Parotid gland

An Overview

Mumps is a viral infection and most often a mild disease of childhood. It affects children between five and nine years of age. However, the mumps can affect both adolescents and adults. Mumps is most recognizable by the painful swellings in the side of the face under the ears (the parotid glands), giving a person with mumps a distinctive “hamster face” appearance. Mumps is spread in the same way as colds and flu: through infected droplets of saliva that can be inhaled or picked up from surfaces and transferred into the mouth or nose. Then most people will have swelling of their salivary glands (often referred to as parotitis when the parotid gland, located in front and below the ear, swells).

Mumps can cause swelling in one or both of these glands. Mumps was common in the United States until mumps vaccination became routine. Since then, the number of cases has dropped dramatically. Mumps virus is present throughout the world. It spreads by airborne droplets released when an infected person sneezes or coughs and by direct contact with an infected person. In temperate climates the disease incidence is peak in winter and spring while in hot climates the disease may occur at any time of year.

Symptoms of Mumps

Temperature is moderately high, usually lasting for three to four days. Once the illness progresses, swelling of the glands under and in front of the ear usually starts on one side and then progresses to the other side rapidly. The primary sign of mumps is swollen salivary glands that cause the cheeks to puff out. Other signs and symptoms may include:
• Pain in the swollen salivary glands on one or both sides of your face.
• Myalgia
• Malaise and low-grade fever.
• Pain while chewing or swallowing.
• Fever.
• Headache.
• Glandular swelling disappear,
• Muscle aches.
• Weakness and fatigue.
• Neck Swelling.
• Orchitis is mostly on one side but can involve both testicles.
• Salivary Glands
• Swelling of the parotid glands .
• Loss of appetite.
• Swollen Parotid Glands
• Patients typically complain of worsening pain when eating or drinking acidic foods.
Others have only very mild generalized symptoms (low-grade fever, feeling sick) or respiratory symptoms. Swollen glands are seen in over 70 percent of the cases.

Causes for Mumps

The virus most commonly is spread by respiratory droplets expelled during sneezing or coughing. Mumps is a viral disease caused by a virus (mumps virus) belongs to the genus Rubulavirus of the family Paramyxoviridae. It primarily affects the salivary glands.
The incubation time (the period between infection and the appearance of signs of a disease) averages 16–18 days with a range of two to four weeks. The period when someone is most infectious to others is from one to two days before and five days after the onset of swelling in the glands.
Transmission of infection: Mumps is a contagious disease. Infection spreads through saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose or throat by an infected person through direct contact, airborne droplet infection or fomites during:
coughing, sneezing, talking, sharing items, such as cups or eating utensils, with others and touching objects or surfaces with unwashed hands that are then touched by others.


Complete blood cell count (CBC) – A complete blood cell count reveals a normal, decreased, or elevated white blood cell (WBC) count, with predominating lymphocytes in differential count.
Blood tests and samples of saliva obtained from inside your mou
In general, the swelling caused by most viral infections is not as prominent as that of mumps. The antibody tests, PCR test and cultures can differentiate one virus from are the most useful. Imaging tests can be useful in assessing some of the complications of mumps.
The swelling of mumps may be asymmetric and swelling can be the first sign of cancer. If anything, they’ll help rule out a cancer diagnosis.


The MMR vaccine is a “safe and effective” vaccine that protects against the disease. Because, mumps is viral antibiotics cannot be used to treat it and at present there are no antiviral medications that can treat mumps. Take over-the-counter painkillers, such as ibuprofen or paracetamol, to relieve any pain (children aged 16 or under should not be given aspirin) drink plenty of fluids, but avoid acidic drinks such as fruit juice as these can irritate your parotid glands; water is usually the best fluid to drink.
Current treatment can only help relieve the symptoms until the infection has run its course and the body has built up an immunity, much like a cold. In most cases, people recover from mumps within 2 weeks.
Routine mumps vaccination is recommended by WHO in countries with a well established, effective childhood vaccination programme and the capacity to maintain high levels of vaccination coverage with routine measles and rubella vaccination and where the reduction of mumps incidence is a public health priority.
Mumps vaccine (live attenuated vaccine) should not be administered to individuals with advanced immune deficiency.


The only way to avoid mumps or its complications is through vaccination. The mumps vaccine is usually available as part of the combined measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine. The recommended age for this vaccination is 15 months.
• Isolate yourself or your child to prevent spreading the disease to others. Someone with mumps may be contagious up to five days after the onset of signs and symptoms.
• Consume plenty of fluids, ideally water – avoid fruit juices as they stimulate the production of saliva, which can be painful.
• Wear an athletic supporter and use cold compresses to ease the pain of tender testicles.
• Place something cold on the swollen area to alleviate the pain.
• Eat mushy or liquid food as chewing might be painful.
• Avoid foods that require lots of chewing. Try broth-based soups or soft foods, such as mashed potatoes or oatmeal.
• Get sufficient rest and sleep.
• Gargle warm salt water.
• Take painkillers.
• Avoid sour foods, such as citrus fruits or juices, which stimulate saliva production.

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