What is mumps? Mumps is a contagious disease ( caused by a virus that passes from one person to another through saliva, nasal secretions, and close personal contact. The condition primarily affects the salivary glands, also called the parotid glands. These glands are responsible for producing saliva. There are three sets of salivary glands on each side of your face, located behind and below your ears. The hallmark symptom of mumps is swelling of the salivary glands ( What are the symptoms of mumps? Symptoms of mumps usually appear within two weeks of exposure to the virus. Flu-like symptoms may be the first to appear, including: • fatigue ( • body aches ( • headache ( • loss of appetite ( • low-grade fever ( A high fever of 103°F (39°C) and swelling of the salivary glands follow over the next few days. The glands may not all swell at once. More commonly, they swell and become painful periodically. You are most likely to pass the mumps virus to another person from the time you come into contact with the virus to when your parotid glands swell. Most people who contract mumps show symptoms of the virus. However, some people have no or very few symptoms. What is the treatment for mumps? Because mumps is a virus, it doesn’t respond to antibiotics or other medications. However, you can treat the symptoms to make yourself more comfortable while you’re sick. These include: • Rest when you feel weak or tired. • Take over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, to bring down your fever. • Soothe swollen glands by applying ice packs (