Mumps is a common contagious disease, and its cause is a virus. After incubating for 2 to 4 weeks, salivary glands begin to swell. Particularly affected is parotid gland (major salivary gland), located directly in front of the ear.
First, the parotid gland beneath the ear begins to swell. A day later, the parotid gland on the other side may also swell. The swellings are usually accompanied by an elevated temperature, and the child generally feels bad. Sometimes the glands underneath the jaw are swollen, and the child feels pain when opening the mouth or swallowing.
Mumps is probably the most common contagious disease in children. However, it is not as catching as some other diseases (measles, for example), so it usually does not spread rapidly in school if one pupil is ill.
One of the rather common complications of mumps is swelling and inflammation of the testicles in boys, or ovaries in girls. Swelling occurs approximately three to four days after swelling of the glands in the neck, and this is more common in adults. A boy (or a man) will notice swelling, which can be very painful for a day or two. Swelling always disappears after a few days without any consequences, and can cause infertility only in extremely rare cases .
Another complication that can occur in mumps is acute pancreatitis, which is manifested as abdominal pain. Pain usually disappears after a few days.
Mumps is generally a mild disease. If the child feels severe pain in salivary glands (or on testicles), contact your doctor. In that case, and if the glands are too swollen, the doctor will prescribe anti-inflammatory corticosteroid medication. Children are usually fully recovered after ten days.