This section is from the book "The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Volume 2.", by J. H. Kellogg, M.D.. Also available from Amazon: The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, Volume 2.
This common disease of childhood usually runs a very mild course. The patient has first a chill, or slight shivering, followed by slight fever for two or three days, in most cases, when the parotid gland begins to swell, usually upon one side at first, the swelling being behind the angle of the jaw near the lobe of the ear. In some cases pain on motion of the jaws is the first symptom. After a little, the swelling extends to the other side. The swelling also extends to the throat, sometimes embarrassing respiration. The patient does not usually suffer much pain when quiet, but eats and talks with difficulty on account of the pain caused by motion of the jaws. After five or six days the fever ceases, and in the course of eight or ten days the patient is well again. It sometimes happens, however, that instead of so prompt and favorable a termination, suppuration take's place. The swelling becomes very painful, hard and dark red, and matter forms, which is discharged through an opening in the cheek or through the external canal of the ear. Another complication, known as metastasis, also sometimes occurs. In these cases the disease seems to subside in the parotid gland and makes its appearance somewhere else. In males the testicle and scrotum are the parts affected; in females, the breasts, vulva, or ovaries may be affected. In some instances the membranes of the brain become the seat of the inflammation. The disease occasionally runs its course in the original place and the new seat at the same time. In most of these cases, as well as in the simpler form of the disease, the inflammation subsides in a few days and complete recovery takes place. Suppuration may occur, how ever, in any of the parts affected, and hence the danger is increased by these complications.
This is an epidemic disease, and is generally believed to be contagious. The period of incubation, that is, the length of time which elapses after exposure before the symptoms of the disease appear, is six to fourteen days. The disease affects males more frequently than females, and children more often than adults.