How to Say It: PEAR-uh-TIE-tiss
Parotitis is swelling in one or both parotid glands. These are 2 large salivary glands that are between each ear and jaw.
The problem can be:
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There are many causes. It depends whether the illness is acute or chronic. The most common causes are:
This illness is more common in older adults and newborns. Other things that may raise the risk are:
Acute parotitis may cause:
Chronic parotitis may cause:
Chronic parotitis can destroy the salivary glands.
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. This may be enough to make a diagnosis.
Tests may include a blood test and a fluid sample from the parotid gland.
Pictures may be taken of the area. These may be done with:
The cause of the problem will need to be treated. Choices are:
Good oral hygiene may lower the risk of acute parotitis.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
Public Health Agency of Canada
Acute suppurative parotitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/acute-suppurative-parotitis. Accessed October 30, 2020.
Chronic recurrent parotitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/chronic-recurrent-parotitis. Accessed October 30, 2020.
Hernandez S, Busso C, et al. Parotitis and Sialendoscopy of the Parotid Gland. Otolaryngol Clin North Am. 2016 Apr;49(2):381-393.
Parotitis. Net Doctor website. Available at:
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Accessed October 30, 2020.
Last reviewed September 2020 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board James P. Cornell, MD
Last Updated: 5/4/2021