Measles is an infectious viral disease that occurs most often in the late winter and spring. It begins with a fever that lasts for a couple of days, followed by a cough, runny nose, and conjunctivitis (pink eye). A rash starts on the face and upper neck, spreads down the back and trunk, then extends to the arms and hands, as well as the legs and feet. After about five days, the rash fades the same order it appeared.
Measles is highly contagious. Infected people are usually contagious from about 4 days before their rash starts to 4 days afterwards. The measles virus resides in the mucus in the nose and throat of infected people. When they sneeze or cough, droplets spray into the air and the droplets remain active and contagious on infected surfaces for up to two hours.
Measles symptoms and signs appear 10 to 12 days after exposure to the virus. They typically include:
- Dry cough
- Runny nose
- Sensitivity to light
- Tiny white spots with bluish-white centers found inside the mouth on the inner lining of the cheek, called Koplik’s spots. Appear 2 to 3 days after initial symptoms.
- A skin rash made up of large, flat blotches that often flow into one another
Measles usually begins with a mild to moderate fever, accompanied by other symptoms, such as a persistent cough, runny nose, inflamed eyes (conjunctivitis) and sore throat. Then a fever spikes, often as high as 104 or 105 F (40 or 40.6 C). At the same time, a red blotchy rash appears, usually on the face, along the hairline and behind the ears. This slightly itchy rash rapidly spreads downward to the chest and back and, finally, to the thighs and feet. After about a week, the rash fades in the same sequence that it appeared.
Homeopathic Remedies & Homeopathy Treatment for Measles
Aconite is one of the first remedies for measles; that is, while the case is presumed to be one of measles, and a hard croupy cough are present. Ferrum phosphoricum in many respects is similar to Aconite, and will take its place where restlessness and anxiety are wanting. It is somewhat questionable whether Aconite will ever be strictly indicated in any disease depending on a poisoned or infected condition of the blood, since in its pathogenesis it does not show any evidence of such condition; however, it may be indicated in the catarrhal irritation, sneezing , etc., before the case can be fully determined to be measles. In catarrhal conditions Aconite ceases to be of use after exudation has taken place, and so in measles; it would cease to be of use after it modified the fever, and the eruption appears and the disease is diagnosed as measles. Ferrum phosphoricum will perhaps be the better remedy if there be chest involvement together with the catarrhal symptoms.
Gelsemium is, on the whole, a more useful remedy in commencing measles than Aconite ; that is, it is oftener indicated; there is much chilliness, the fever is a prominent symptoms, the child is dumpish, apathetic, does not want to be disturbed ; there is watery coryza which excoriates the upper lip and nose, and there is harsh, barking, croupy cough, with chest soreness and hoarseness. Gelsemium, too, has an action on the skin and may be continued with benefit after the eruption has appeared; there is an itching and redness of the skin, and a decidely measly eruption produced by it. It has some aching in the limbs, and may be compared with Dulcamara, but seldom be mistaken for that remedy. Gelsemium has more coryza, Dulcamara more aching. Both may be useful in an undeveloped eruption ; Gelsemium when there is pain at the base of the brain , high fever and passive brain symptoms ; Dulcamara when occurring from damp, cool air, rainy weather or sudden changes. Belladonna may be indicated in measles when sore throat is present and the cerebral excitement indicating that remedy, together with moisture and heat; but it corresponds more closely to scarlet fever.
When the catarrhal symptoms greatly predominate Euphrasia may be used. Acrid tears stream out of the eyes, with a red and swollen conjunctiva. The cough is dry and very hoarse, and there is an intense throbbing headache which is relieved on the appearance of the eruption. The excoriating discharge from the eyes will distinguish from Allium cepa. The photophobia of Euphrasia is worse in artificial light , and a brightness of the eyes despite the catarrhal condition is characteristic.
A little later in the disease Pulsatilla symptoms may make their appearance. The fever has subsided or entirely disappeared. There is coryza and profuse lachrymation. The cough is still dry at night, but loosens a little in the daytime. The child sits up to cough. There is much predisposition to earache and sometimes sickness at the stomach. Where there is catarrh of the digestive canal and diarrhea Pulsatilla will be found useful. The eyes agglutinate and the discharge is purulent. Kali bichromicum is so similar to Pulsatilla in many respects that it may be mentioned here, as the two remedies seem to differ in intensity only. Kali bichromicum has pustules developing on the cornea. The throat is swollen and there is catarrhal deafness. It produces an eruption which closely resembles measles. It comes in very well after Pulsatilla when the patient develops more intense symptoms. Measles associated with ear symptoms and swollen glands especially call for Kali bichromicum, and it is one of our best remedies for laryngeal affections, with a hoarse, dry,croupy cough. Dr. Jousset recommends Viola odorata for the cough. Sulphur is a great measles remedy. It is useful where the skin is dusky and the rash does not come out, or is purplish when it does appear.
In measles which do not run a favourable course, in malignant type or black or haemorrhagic measles we have two or three important remedies. The first of these is Arsenicum. There will be sinking of strength, diarrhea,delirium, restlessness and debility, petechiae and general typhoid symptoms. The stools are particularly offensive and exhausting. Arsenicum may save the patient in these conditions. Dr. Gaudy, of Brussels, considers Arsenicum almost specific in measles. He says that its action is little short a marvelous. It is prophylactic and curative, and one of the best remedies to remove all sequelae of the disease. It corresponds to the insidious phenomena of severe epidemics of measles. Crotalus may also be indicated in the form known as black measles. Also Baptisia, with its foetor and prostration, may prove useful. Lachesis is the fourth remedy for these conditions. The individual symptom of each remedy will differentiate them, but all four should be studied carefully in these low conditions of measles.
When the eruption does not come out properly, or when it disappears suddenly and grave symptoms appear, there are a few remedies which play a most important role. Stramonium is one of these. In a case calling for it you will find these symptoms: non-appearance of the rash; the child is hot, restless, and on falling asleep cries out as if frightened ; there are convulsive movements and the face is red. Cuprum is indicated in convulsion due to recession of the eruption. It has the same terror on awakening, but its symptoms are move violent than those of Stramonium and the face instead of being red is more apt to be bluish. Zincum has the same awakening from sleep as if terrified, but with Zincum there is much weakness, the child seems too weak to develop the eruption. Bryonia is useful when chest symptoms appear upon a retardation or a recession of the eruption. Too slow development of the eruption with chest symptoms calls for it. Antimonium tartaricum is another remedy for retarded or repelled eruption. There will be great difficulty in breathing, rattling of mucus, bluish or purplish face, drowsiness and twitching.
This remedy comes in well when the rash appears late, or runs an irregular course, and when inflammatory diseases of the chest accompany. The cough is dry and painful , there is soreness of the limbs and body, stitches in the chest, etc. Spasms from suppressed measles when the child is seized with great lassitude and debility, twitching of muscles or of single limbs or if the spasms are preceded by deep and violent coughing and oppressed respiration. For the chest complications a number of remedies may come into use. Sticta, if there be present an incessant dry and spasmodic cough, worse when lying down and a night ; it is a teasing, titillating cough. Phosphorus with its dry, exhausting cough with oppressed breathing. Rumex with its short tickling bronchial cough worse from cold air. Drosera with its whooping-like cough. All these may be indicated in measles. Sabadilla is the remedy when among the catarrhal symptoms there is violent sneezing attended with a frontal headache. It will corresponds to some epidemics and should not be overlooked.