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Mumps is a viral infection that leads to painful swelling of the parotid glands. The parotid glands are salivary glands located on the sides of your mouth, in front of your ears. Swelling of the parotid glands causes cheeks to puff out, many times on one side more than on the other. Mumps spreads easily by infected saliva. Mumps is preventable by getting vaccinated with the mumps vaccine, usually given in combination as the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.

Review Date 6/7/2022

Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.