Mucus is a viral infection that primarily affects the salivary glands (salivary glands) located near your ears. Mucous inflammation can occur 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.
However, mumps outbreaks still occur in the United States, and the number of cases has crept up in recent years. These outbreaks generally affect people who aren’t vaccinated and occur in close-contact settings such as schools or college campuses.
Complications of mumps, such as hearing loss, are potentially serious but rare. There’s no specific treatment for mumps.
Some people infected with the mumps virus have either no signs or symptoms or very mild ones. When symptoms do develop, they generally occur about two to three weeks after exposure to the virus.
The primary sign of mumps is swollen salivary glands that cause the cheeks to puff out. Other signs may include:
- Pain in the swollen salivary glands on one or both sides of your face
- Pain while chewing or swallowing
- Muscle aches
- Weakness and fatigue
- Loss of appetite
In the meantime:
- Rest as much as possible
- Try to ease symptoms with cold compresses and over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and acetaminophen (Tylenol, others)
Mumps has become uncommon. So another condition may be causing your symptoms. Swollen salivary glands and a fever could indicate:
- A blocked salivary gland
- A different viral infection
Mumps is caused by a virus that is easily spread from person to person through infected saliva. If you do not have an immune system, you can get the flu by inhaling saliva droplets from a person suffering from sneezing or coughing. You can also cause colds by sharing utensils or cups with someone who has the flu.
Complications of mumps are rare, but some are potentially severe.
Most mumps complications concern inflammation and swelling in some part of the body, such as:
- Testicles. This condition, called orchitis, causes one or both spermatozoa to swell during puberty. Orchitis is painful, but it rarely leads to the inability to father a child (infertility).
- Brain. Viral infections such as mumps can lead to inflammation of the brain (encephalitis). Encephalitis can cause neurological problems and become life-threatening.
- Membranes and fluid around the brain and spinal cord. This condition, called meningitis, can be caused by the spread of the mucus virus in your bloodstream, affecting your central nervous system.
- Pancreas. The symptoms of this condition, known as pancreatitis, include pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, and vomiting.
Other complications of mumps include:
- Hearing loss. Hearing loss can occur in one or both ears. Although rare, hearing loss is sometimes permanent.
- Heart problems. Rarely, mucus is associated with an abnormal heartbeat and heart muscle disease.
- Miscarriage. Contracting mumps while you’re pregnant, especially early in your gestation, may lead to miscarriage.
When to see a doctor
See your doctor if you or your child has symptoms of mumps. Mumps is highly contagious(infectious) for about nine days after symptoms appear. Tell your doctor’s office before you go in that you suspect mumps so arrangements can be made to avoid spreading the virus to others in the waiting room.