©2018 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved. eMedicineHealth does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See Additional Information.

Symptoms and Signs of Mumps

Doctor's Notes on Mumps

Mumps is a viral disease, usually seen in children. The disease is more severe in adults. With mumps, your salivary glands (the parotid glands) that located below and in front of each ear, swell. The virus is spread by direct contact with an infected person's sneeze or cough. With nearly universal immunization in childhood, there are fewer than 1,000 cases of mumps in the U.S. in a typical year.

Early symptoms of the mumps are uncommon and may include fever, loss of appetite, achiness, and headache. 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. Swelling may last from seven to 10 days. Eating or drinking acidic or citric foods causes discomfort. Other symptoms of the mumps may include testicular pain, abdominal pain, seizures, stiff neck, and difficulty swallowing.

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.