Mumps | Symptoms

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What are the symptoms of mumps?

The most noticeable symptom of mumps is facial swelling, or “chipmunk cheeks,” caused by the swollen salivary glands. This swelling can be very painful, and is sometimes the only symptom. The swelling usually occurs on the second day of illness and lasts from 5 to 7 days. Many people also experience:

  • Face pain
  • Fever as high as 103°F to 104°F starting after the first few days and lasting for 2 to 3 days
  • Chills
  • Lack of appetite
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Swelling of the temples or jaw

When should I see a doctor?

There is no medicine to treat mumps. It usually goes away on its own within 2 weeks. Because it is a viral infection, antibiotics cannot treat mumps.

Rarely, mumps can spread to other areas of the body, which may lead to other serious conditions. It can cause swelling of the testicles, the ovaries, the pancreas and the brain. It can also lead to hearing loss and meningitis (infection of membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord). Mumps can also cause miscarriage in pregnant women. Call your doctor if you notice:

  • Severe headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Eye redness
  • Drowsiness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Testicle pain or lump

Women who are pregnant and may have been exposed to mumps should call the doctor, even if they don’t show any symptoms.

If seizures occur, seek emergency medical care. 

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 02/11
Created: 10/09

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