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The classic sign for mumps is painful swelling under one or both ears along the jaw line. The swelling is in the salivary glands, also called parotid glands.

It is a disease caused by a virus. It typically starts with:

  • Fever.
  • Headache.
  • Muscle aches.
  • Tiredness.
  • Loss of appetite. 

Most people with mumps get well in a few weeks. Some people with mumps may have a mild illness or may not even know they have the disease. 

Other viruses besides mumps virus can cause swelling of the parotid glands. Special tests are needed to diagnose mumps.

However, mumps can occasionally cause serious health problems. These health problems can include:

  • Swelling of the testicles.
  • Swelling of the brain or spinal cord.
  • Deafness.
  • Inflammation of the ovaries.