Parotitis (patient information)
Parotitis On the Web
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- Parotitis is a disease caused by inflammation of the parotid glands found under the mouth and in back of both ears. It is a symptom of viral or bacterial infection, a growth, or from recurrent conditions.
What are the symptoms of Parotitis?
The symptoms of parotitis include the following:
- Abnormal tastes
- Difficulty opening mouth
- Dry mouth
- Mouth or facial pain
- Reddening of the face or upper neck
- Facial swelling
- Particularly in front of the ears
What causes Parotitis?
The causes of Parotitis include viruses such as mumps, HIV, or extrapulmonary tuberculosis. It can also result from a staph infection from staphylococcus aureus bacteria. Parotitis can result from blockages in the mouth, including benign or malignant tumors or salivary gland stones. A chronic disease that can cause parotitis is Sjögren's Syndrome.
Who is at highest risk?
- Children between 6 months and 16 years old for mumps-based parotitis.
- Women over age 40 and/or perimenopausal, for parotitis from Sjögren’s syndrome.
- People lacking the mumps vaccine or anti-tuberculosis vaccination.
- Those who smoke, chew tobacco, or have poor oral hygiene.
- An examination of the mouth, particularly behind the ears, will be done to determine if the parotid glands are swollen.
- A cheek or mouth swab may be done to obtain a sample to test for viruses such as mumps and HIV, or presence of bacteria such as staphylococcus aureus.
- A CT scan or MRI may be done if the cause is suspected to be from an abscess or an obstruction, such as a salivary gland stone.
- A sample will be taken for analysis in the event of a parotid gland tumor.
- An examination to check for presence of pus may be done to diagnose parotitis sourced from an abscess.
When to seek urgent medical care?
- When diagnosed with parotitis: If fever develops or worsens or you have difficulty breathing or swallowing.
- If swelling is due to a tumor that does not respond to therapy.
- Pain relievers, such as aspirin and tylenol.
- Heated massages of the outside of the parotid gland.
- Warm salt water rinses.
- Lemon drops or lozenges to stimulate saliva flow.
- Antiretroviral medication if the cause is HIV.
- Anti-tuberculosis medication
- Antibiotics and abscess draining for bacterial infection-caused parotitis.
- Surgery of the parotid gland (partial or full)
Where to find medical care for Parotitis?
- Vaccination against mumps and extrapulmonary tuberculosis.
- Practicing good oral hygiene.
- Washing hands frequently.
- Avoiding close contact with those who are sick.
- Limiting sexual contact with HIV-infected individuals.
- Using condoms during sexual intercourse
- Limiting alcohol consumption.
- Reducing tobacco consumption and smoking.
- Avoiding harmful inhalants, such as pesticides.
What to expect (Outlook/Prognosis)?
Prognosis is usually good and full recovery is expected with or without treating symptoms.