What are Measles?
Measles, what was once considered a childhood illness, is an airborne disease which is easily spread by coughing, sneezing or from sharing food or drink from those infected. The measles virus can live for up to two hours on a surface or in an airspace where the infected person coughed or sneezed. If other people breathe the contaminated air or touch the infected surface, then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth, they can become infected. The measles virus can travel through the air. This means that someone can get measles if they are near someone else, who has the virus (including someone recently vaccinated), even if that person doesn’t cough or sneeze directly on them. The virus is most often spread to others, when people first get sick, before they even know they have it. Measles occurs most often in the late winter and spring.
There are two types of measles, and each is caused by a different virus. Although both produce a rash and fever they are really different diseases. Measles as we know it is called morbilli, rubeola, “red measles” and is also known as “hard measles”. In most cases people recover without any problems. Although red measles is often a mild disease, complications such as ear infection (otitis media) or pneumonia or in extreme cases inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) may occur. Then there is the rubella virus “German measles”, also known as “three-day measles. This is usually a milder disease than red measles. However, this virus can cause significant birth defects if an infected pregnant woman passes the virus to her unborn child. Measles can affect people of all ages, especially children between 6 months –5 years old. When adults get measles, they usually feel worse than children who get it. The measles virus can be confirmed by a blood test and/or viral culture, if measles is suspected.
Prevention Tips: Healthy children can take Aconite Napellus 30c and Pulsatilla Nigricans 30c two times day for a few days when there is an outbreak of measles in the family or neighborhood.
The beginning symptoms of measles are fever, runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, and a hacking cough. The lymph nodes in the neck may also become swollen. They may also feel very tired, have diarrhea and red, sore eyes. Two or three days after the start of the symptoms small white glistening spots surrounded by redness may form on the internal surface of the lips and gums (Koplik’s spots). Over the next 3 – 4 days the fever increases. A fever that persists for a few days for no specific reason (e.g., earache) and is fluctuating or not going away can mean skin eruptions are about to come out. On day 4 the fever shoots up over 104o and a flat red rash (roundish lentil red spots) develops on the face along the hairline and behind the ears. Over the next 3 days the rash spreads from the neck, chest, arms, and eventually works its way down to the thighs. Small raised bumps may also appear on top of the flat red spots. The rash may run together forming irregular shapes or may have isolated spots with normal skin tone between eruptions.
By the 8th day the body is completely covered with eruptions, which may be very itchy. Within 3 -4 days of the initial appearance of the eruptions, the fever subsides, and the eruptions start to flake off a bran-like scurf (desquamation) leaving a dusky stained skin. The desquamation first starts on the face, then behind ears and so on. Overall the rash lasts for 5 to 6 days, and then fades. Sometimes diarrhea appears as the rash is on the way out, which can be a helpful symptom clue. The measles symptoms usually appear 7 – 18 days after one has been infected by someone who has the measles virus (incubation period). Infected people can spread the virus to others from 4 days before the rash starts and until 4 days after the rash appears (period of communicability). One can safely be around other healthy people and return to school at least 5 days after the appearance of the rash.
In the beginning when the fever is present no cold food items (ice cream, etc.), or cold drinks should be given. If given, they may suppress the fever and eruptions. Only plenty of warm drinks, to prevent dehydration and nutritious salt free foods should be provided. Salt while in the eruptive stage may induce more itching. The room should have plenty of sunlight and the windows briefly opened to let fresh air in. The eyes become very sensitive to light during measles and should therefore be kept shaded to avoid direct light on face. Do not allow the child to become chilled during a fever or when the eruptions are coming out. Showers and baths should only be taken after the desquamation is completed.
Preventive Measures for Measles
Healthy children can take Aconite Napellus 30c and Pulsatilla Nigricans 30c two times day for a few days when there is an outbreak of measles in the family or neighborhood.
Treatment for Measles
In Homeopathy, there are Homeopathic remedies for the prevention of measles, remedies to use during the course of the measles, and remedies to address any complications from measles.
The conventional medical world does not have a treatment for measles other than let it run its course. Selecting the right homeopathic remedy can significantly shorten the duration, decrease the severity, and get the person back to health quickly, safely, and naturally.
Homeopathic Remedies for Measles
There are several Homeopathic remedies for Measles. Listed below are a few of the most common Homeopathic remedies used for Measles along with the symptom pictures.
Aconite Napellus (Wolfsbane or Monkshood) Acon 30c
They are restlessness with a fever, red eyeballs and photophobia. Has a dry barking cough, with a thirst at night. Skin is dry, burns and itches. Acon 30c can also be used prophylactically when there is an outbreak in the family or neighborhood.
Apis Melifica (Honey-Bee) Apis 200c
A good remedy to consider for tarty or suppressed eruptions, which affects the brain. They have a puffy face, and are thirstless. Has difficulty in breathing and inability to remain in warm room. Has a swelling of the skin and throat with the eruptions running together. There also are intense stinging pains that are worse from heat. They feel better with cool application or cool air.
Bryonia Alba (Wild Hops) Bry 200c or 1m
This remedy is especially considered when eruptions suddenly disappear and they feel drowsy with pale twitching face and chewing motion of jaws. Their lips are dry and parched with great thirst of large quantities of water. They have a dry hacking cough, with tearing pains in chest. Chest feels heavy or tight. They are very irritable with a headache that is better lying down or still. They overall are worse from slightest movement.
Euphrasia Officinalis (Eyebright) Euphr 30cSelect for measles, especially with eye symptoms. Eyes are secreting a burning watery discharge down the face leaving red marks on face. Eyes are red, swollen and intolerant of light. A bland discharge runs profusely from nose. Cough dry and hoarse with throbbing headache relieved on appearance of eruptions.
Pulsatilla Nigricans (Wind flower) Puls 30c or 200c
Is one of the main remedies to consider for measles from the beginning through the later stages, especially with yellow discharge from eyes, nose, bronchia’s and lungs. Dryness of lips without thirst and child constantly licks them to be moistened. Cough dry at night but loosens in day time. Eyes agglutinate and discharging pus. They have a predisposition to earaches. Eruptions are slow coming out and when fully out have a dark appearance. Very useful when chronic loose cough persists after measles. Child is weepy, whinny and wants to be held all the time. Puls 30c can also be used prophylactically when there is an outbreak in the family or neighborhood.
Sulphur (Sublimated Sulphur) Sulph 30c
A good remedy to select for when the following symptoms remain after having measles: chronic cough, diarrhea, or hardness of hearing with a discharge from ears. Slow recovery from measles and they are weak and exhausted. Cough with dusky skin and rash does not come out or is a purplish color.
Fagopyrum Esculentum (Buckwheat) Fago 30c
Suggest using for the itchy skin eruptions, whether it is measles or poison ivy. Repeat Fago when skin eruptions become intensely itchy again. Use Fago 30c in conjunction with a measles remedy.
Other Homeopathic remedies listed for Measles are:
Antimonium Tartaricum 30c, Arsenicum Album 30c, Belladonna 200c, Gelsemium Sempervirens 200c, Kali Bichromicum 30c or 200c, Lachesis Muta 30c, Mercurius Vivus/Solublis 30c or 200c, Rhus Toxicodendron 200c, Zincum Metallicum 30c.