Parotitis is inflammation or infection of the parotid salivary gland. This is the main salivary gland, and lies under the angle of the jaw and the ear lobe. If it is swollen, the ear is pushed up and out in a characteristic fashion, which helps differentiate this condition from a simple lymph gland infection (lymphadenitis) in the same area. The most common cause of parotitis is now bacterial infection, since mumps has all but disappeared due to near-universal immunization. Most mumps you hear of will not be mumps but non-mumpsvirus parotitis, bacterial parotitis, or most likely, lymphadenitis.

The opening of the salivary duct (Stensen's duct) can be inspected for clues to the cause of parotitis. It is a perhaps 2 mm diameter raised bump with a tiny central hole lying on the mucous membrane of the inner cheek. Your doctor will observe this opening and massage the cheek, stroking forward from the ear toward the front of the face. If the little opening is raised and red but nothing comes from the duct with stroking but saliva, the diagnosis is probably viral parotitis. Viruses other than the mumps virus can cause parotitis. If the infection is bacterial, pus will exude from the duct with stroking. An antibiotic active against Staph. aureus  will be prescribed.

Night, Night! Dr. Hull's Common Sense Sleep Solutions© Copyright© Site Information/Disclaimer