Mumps - Symptoms

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What are the signs and symptoms of mumps in children and adults?

Nonspecific symptoms of low-grade fever, headache, muscle aches (myalgia), reduced appetite, and malaise occur during the first 48 hours of mumps infection. Parotid gland swelling characteristically is present on day three of illness. (The parotid gland is a salivary gland located anterior to the ear and above the angle of the jaw -- imagine a large set of sideburns.) The parotid gland is swollen and tender to touch, and referred pain to the ear may also occur. Parotid gland swelling may last up to 10 days, and adults generally experience worse symptoms than children. Approximately 95% of individuals who develop symptoms of mumps will experience tender inflammation of their parotid glands.

Interestingly about 15%-20% of mumps cases have no clinical evidence of infection, and 50% of patients will have only nonspecific respiratory symptoms and not the characteristic description above. Adults are more likely to experience such a subclinical or respiratory-only constellation of symptoms while children between 2-9 years of age are more likely to experience the classic presentation of mumps with parotid gland swelling.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: DS, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: April 11

I got mumps at the age of 13 and right now am 23. Before I got mumps my face was small and cute. But I got mumps and my face is bigger now. That time I was advised to take some leaves treatment. But I am not sure why face is still bigger. It really hurts lot... sometimes all used to tell me, my face is so bigger.

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Comment from: Gail, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 05

I am 57 years old and I have had mumps now for 13 days I have never been so poorly in all my life. I ended up in Accident and Emergency after 6 days as nothing would control the pain. They gave me high doses of codeine 4 times a day and I keep taking paracetamol and also Voltarol suppositories 2 or 3 times a day which helped but only for short burst of time. After about 5 days I had rectal bleeding so had to give up on them and just bear the pain. I developed ulcers on my tongue and all over my mouth on the 4th day which I still have. I cannot eat and find it hard to even drink water as that stings my mouth. I have lost over a stone in weight in just 13 days. I have no energy and all I keep getting told is I am doing the right things but I just wonder how long I will have this as it is totally debilitating. I honestly don't know how children cope with it.

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