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Measles

Disclaimer: This information is in no way intended to be a substitute for modern medical care. Do not self-treat any medical complaint without the guidance of a licensed health care provider.

      A case of the measles most often occurs in childhood, though it may be contracted by adults, as well. This viral infection, known as rubeola, or red measles, differs from other types of measles - baby measles and German measles - in that it is the most severe, contagious form of the disease. Measles is almost always spread through direct contact with mucus or saliva from infected people; airborne infection is also a possible means of transmission.
      Initial symptoms are usually flulike; a fever, runny rose, coughing and general listlessness. After several days, a splotchy, dark, raised, somewhat itchy rash appears on the face, and then spreads down the torso and over the arms and legs. Tiny white spots, called Koplik's spots, may also appear inside the mouth. The coughing and fever persist along with the rash, but all these symptoms cease after about seven days. Natural remedies may help to alleviate discomfort, but it is critical to see a doctor, too.

Soothing Body Care
      The measles rash can be itchy and irritating. An oatmeal rinse can help to soothe the skin. Wrap ½ cup of oatmeal in a cloth or cloth bag, close it securely and allow it to soak for 5 minutes in a large bowl of warm water. Use a clean, soft washcloth to gently bathe the affected areas with the oatmeal rinse. For further relief, rub the oatmeal-filled cloth over the skin. There are also commercial oatmeal preparations available for use as as bath additive.

What You Can Do
      If you've had the measles, you don't need to worry about getting it again, as a permanent immunity develops. However, if you or your child hasn't had it, you may want to ask your doctor about getting a vaccine. See your doctor at once if you think you or your child has contracted the measles. It can lead to serious complications, such as pneumonia and encephalitis, which can then result in deafness, blindness or even mental retardation. Measles treatments focus on easing the symptoms; some natural healing remedies may also help.

General Supportive Measures
      Adequate rest is vital for people who have the measles. Since it is contagious for at least one week after the beginning of the illness, restrict access to the infected person, if possible. If a fever higher that 102 F develops, cold wraps around the legs or a cool bath can help relieve discomfort. Also, dim the lights, as measles can cause an increased sensitivity to bright light. A child suffering from measles always seems to get well much more quickly and to have a relatively light case if he/she drinks a tea of catmip, lemon balm, burdock and the Chinese herb bupleurum. Catnip lowers a fever and reduces the eruptions of measles and chickenpox. Long before viruses were found to be the root of this disease, the Chinese treated it with burdock and bupleurum in an effort to enhance immunity and liver function. Laboratory studies have shown that burdock and bupleurum destroy the measle virus.

Soothe dry, itchy skin
      The measles rash can be somewhat itchy and often leaves the healed skin dry and flaky. Apply lotion or a salve containing calendula, or use a sponge to help exfoliate the skin.

Treat flu-like symptoms
      Teas and homeopathic remedies can help ease a runny nose, sore throat and coughing. Using a humidifier to air out the sickroom each day can help relieve these symptoms, as well.

Provide soothing food and drink
      Measles often causes appetite loss. Don't force a sick child to eat as much as usual. Choose foods such as potatoes, fruits, vegetables, oatmeal, toast and soups, which are all easy to digest, and encourage drinking plenty of fluids.

Phytotherapy
      The use of botanical medicines, also called phytotherapy, can help treat the flulike symptoms of measles. The medicines can be found in health-food stores in many forms, from syrups to tinctures to pills.

Medicinal Teas


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Sources:
      All information provided in this article is the result of research using (but not limited to) the following books and guides: Herbs for Health and Healing, Rodale; Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, Scott Cunningham; Magical Herbalism, Scott Cunningham; The Complete Guide to Natural Healing, International Masters Publishers; Earthway, Mary Summer Rain; Teach Yourself Herbs, Susie White; Natural Beauty from the Garden, Janice Cox; Nature's Prescriptions, Editors of FC&A Medical Publishing, and The People's Pharmacy Guide to Home and Herbal Remedies, Joe Graedon and Theresa Graedon, Ph.D