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Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by the rubeola virus. The virus spreads through droplet infection (coughing and sneezing) and the infected person starts to show symptoms within 7 to 14 days of exposure to the virus. One of the characteristic symptoms of measles is a skin rash, which starts on the face and gradually spreads down the body. Even though most people recover within 2 to 3 weeks, complications such as ear infections, diarrhoea, pneumonia, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) may occur at times. In severe cases, the condition may be life-threatening. Measles is the fifth-largest cause of childhood illness and death globally. Vaccines are provided to babies for lifelong protection against measles. However, despite the vaccine, measles is cases are rising among young people. Also, some families are now avoiding the vaccine since it is thought to increase the risk of autism

Around 12.7% of the population in India is dependent on homeopathy for their treatment. Homeopathy is a holistic system of medicine that aims at treating the individual as a whole, rather than focussing on symptomatic management. The remedies that are commonly used for the treatment of measles include aconitum napellus, apis mellifica, belladonna, euphrasia officinalis, gelsemium sempervirens, kalium bichromicum, pulsatilla pratensis and sulphur.

  1. Homeopathic medicines for measles
  2. Dietary and lifestyle changes for a measles patient as per homeopathy
  3. How effective are homeopathic medicines and treatments for measles
  4. Side effects and risks of homeopathic medicine and treatments for measles
  5. Takeaway

Some of the homeopathic remedies that are frequently used for the treatment of measles are:

  • Aconitum Napellus
    Common Name:
    Monkshood
    Symptoms: Aconite is given to individuals who show the following symptoms:
    • Fearfulness and anxiety
    • Restlessness
    • Burning headache
    • Red eyes/inflamed eyes
    • Swollen, red, hot and flushed face
    • Dry skin
    • Excessive thirst
    • An acute sense of smell
    • Pain at the root of the nose
    • Alternating chilliness and fever
    • A sensation of cold waves passing through the body
    • Numbness
    • Formication or sensation of insects crawling on the skin
    • Severe itching of the skin

Symptoms worsen with warmth and in the evening. The person feels better in open air. 

  • Apis Mellifica
    Common Name:
    The honey-bee
    Symptoms: Apis works well in those who are whiny and cry easily. It is frequently used for addressing the following symptoms:
    • Erysipelas (a type of skin infection)
    • Swollen, stingy and rosy hue on the skin
    • Waxy and pale face
    • Swollen and red eyelids
    • Swollen tongue, throat, gums and lips
    • Dry cough
    • Lack of thirst
    • Craving milk
    • Drowsiness
    • Carbuncles (cluster of boils) on the skin, with burning and stinging pain
    • A feeling of chilliness in the afternoon with a thirst, which worsens with motion and heat
    • Sudden swelling of the whole body 
    • Sudden jerking and screaming during sleep

Symptoms worsen with heat, and pressure, touch, with warmth and late in the noon. The person feels better in the open air and with bathing in cold water 

  • Belladonna
    Common Name:
    Deadly nightshade
    Symptoms: Symptoms that can be treated with belladonna are:
    • Delusions
    • Desire to escape
    • Swollen and shiny face
    • Dry and sensitive skin
    • Intense burning on the skin with alternating paleness and redness
    • Hardness (induration) of skin post-inflammation
    • Scarlatina (a bacterial illness) like eruptions that spread suddenly
    • Throbbing headache
    • Rapid but weakened pulse
    • Swollen and protruding eyes
    • Lack of thirst
    • Fever
    • Difficulty sleeping and drowsiness

Symptoms worsen with touch, movement, and while lying down. Symptoms are relieved in semi-erect posture 

  • Euphrasia Officinalis
    Common Name:
    Eyebright
    Symptoms: Euphrasia is an effective remedy suited to individuals with the following symptoms:
    • Throbbing headache
    • Inflammation of mucous membranes (inner lining of organs), especially of eyes and nose
    • Profuse discharge from eyes and nose
    • Catarrhal conjunctivitis (inflammation of the conjunctiva)
    • Persistent watery eyes
    • Pungent-smelling tears
    • Swollen eyelids that burn
    • A tendency to blink constantly
    • Small blisters and sticky mucus on the cornea
    • Red and hot cheeks
    • Fever with chills
    • Sweating at night primarily on the chest

Symptoms worsen in the evening, staying indoors and with warmth. Symptoms improve in the dark and with coffee 

This remedy is specially indicated during the first stage of measles for the marked eye symptoms mentioned above.

  • Gelsemium Sempervirens
    Common Name:
    Yellow jasmine
    Symptoms: Gelsemium can aid in bringing out the eruption and thus quicken the healing process. Patients who respond well to gelsemium exhibit the following characteristic symptoms:
    • Dizziness and drowsiness
    • Tiredness and mental apathy
    • Heaviness in the entire body, specifically eyelids
    • Hot and flushed face
    • Watery and excoriating discharge from nose
    • Difficulty in swallowing food
    • Lack of thirst
    • Dry cough with a sore chest
    • Slow pulse
    • Pain in muscles of the neck, back, hips and lower extremities
    • Delirium, especially on falling asleep
    • Hot, dry and itchy skin
    • Scarlet fever with lethargy and flushed face
    • Excessive trembling and weakness of limbs
    • When eruptions recede they leave behind bluish-black spots
    • Dull headache with fever

Patient's condition worsens with humidity and extreme emotions (for example excitement) Symptoms improve in the open air, after profuse urination, and by moving about.

  • Kalium Bichromicum
    Common Name:
    Bichromate of potash
    Symptoms: Kalium bichromicum is administered to individuals with the following symptoms:
    • Blurred vision followed by a headache over the eyebrow area
    • Oedematous eyelids with ropy and yellow discharge
    • Thick, ropy and greenish-yellow discharge from nose
    • Violent sneezing
    • Loss of smell
    • A sensation of pressure and pain at the root of the nose
    • Thick, yellow, stringy and foul-smelling discharge from the ear with sharp pain
    • Swollen salivary glands
    • A hoarse voice, which worsens in the evening
    • Hacking cough
    • Skin ulcers with punched-out edges
    • Pus-filled eruptions on the skin that look like smallpox, with burning pain
    • Absence of fever
    • Swollen and stiff joints

Symptoms worsen in the morning and on taking beer. Symptoms improve with heat 

  • Pulsatilla Pratensis
    Common Name:
    Windflower
    Symptoms: Windflower is given to extremely sensitive individuals who weep easily and like to be fussed over and caressed (seen in children). Those who respond well to pulsatilla have the following symptoms:
    • Inflamed eyelids that often get stuck together 
    • Thick, bland and yellowish-green discharges from mucous membranes (inner lining of organs), especially eyes and nose
    • Itchy and burning eyes
    • Swelling and redness in the external ear
    • Dry mouth 
    • Lack of thirst
    • Yellow or white coated tongue
    • Swollen lips
    • Crack in the centre of the lower lip
    • Varicose veins
    • Headache 
    • Diarrhoea, and loss of appetite with nausea
    • Dry cough, especially in the evening and at night
    • Chills with pain
    • Intolerance to warmth

Symptoms worsen from warmth, on lying on the left side and after meals. Symptoms improve in open air, cold food and drinks and on moving about.

  • Sulphur
    Common Name:
    Sublimated sulphur
    Symptoms: Sulphur is typically given to individuals who are extremely forgetful, delusional and have difficulty thinking. Such people are usually irritabledepressed, slender and weak, even after having a strong appetite and display the following symptoms:
    • Heaviness of head with headache
    • Burning eyes
    • Dry and burning lips that appear bright red
    • Excessive acidity
    • Either excessive or no hunger
    • Frequent flashes of fever
    • Dry, scaly and unhealthy skin
    • Pus formation even after a small injury
    • Severe itching of the skin, especially in the evening and from warmth, that recurs frequently in spring and in damp weather
    • Excoriation or abrasion in skin folds.

Symptoms worsen from the warmth of bed, in the morning and night, after bathing and occasionally from alcoholic stimulants. The person feels better in dry and warm weather. 

Homeopathic medicines are prepared and administered in highly diluted doses and their action can get affected by various dietary and lifestyle factors. It is essential to be aware of such factors in the patient's regimen that can affect the action of homeopathic medicines and make necessary changes to get the maximum benefit from the treatment. Here are certain do's and don'ts that can come in handy if you are opting for homeopathy:

Do’s: 

  • Maintain good personal hygiene.
  • Exercise regularly to maintain an active lifestyle.
  • Take a healthy diet and drink plenty of fluids.

Don’ts: 

  • Avoid the following foods and beverages:
    • Coffee and liquor made with medicinal spices
    • Excessively spicy foods and sauces
    • Dishes that contain medicinal vegetables 
    • Cold drinks and ice-creams
    • Onions and celery
    • Old cheese and stale meat
  • Do not sleep for long hours.
  • Avoid strong-scented perfumes, tooth powders and flowers.
  • Avoid damp and heated rooms.
  • Avoid unnecessary stress to the mind and body.

Homeopathic remedies are highly effective in the treatment of measles. They not only bring about a drastic reduction in the intensity of measles symptoms but they also help in strengthening the immune system of the individual, thereby preventing the complications associated with measles.

In a case study, a 6-year-old boy with a rare neurological syndrome, sub-acute measles encephalitis, was effectively treated with a homeopathic medicine, zincum metallicum.

In an observational study, a group of children (aged 6 months to 18 years) who suffered from acute encephalitis syndrome (as a complication of measles), were given homeopathic treatment, along with the conventional treatment. The study concluded an overall reduction in mortality and morbidity, indicating the efficiency of homeopathic medicines.

Overuse of conventional antibiotics has gradually resulted in a rise in antibiotic resistance among the population. Since the new strains of microbes cannot be controlled through traditional drugs alone, homeopathic medicines could hence be an effective alternative or add on therapy. These remedies are made from natural sources and are safe to use in both adults and children.

Homeopathic medicines are reported to be safe and have no adverse effects since they are highly diluted and used in minute doses. Nevertheless, one should refrain from self-medication and consult a qualified homeopathic doctor to get the right remedy. 

Measles is a contagious disease caused by the rubeola virus. It mainly affects children and spreads through coughing and sneezing. The condition may be self-limiting or lead to severe complications, it may even cause death. Though vaccines are available for this disease, they have been suggested to show some adverse effects and not everybody gets them. So, the disease remains the fifth most common cause of mortality in children.

Some research studies have found homeopathic medicines to be effective in treating measles. Since these remedies are prepared in minute doses, they do not exhibit any notable side effects. Homeopathic medicines can be taken safely along with conventional medicines. These medicines should always be taken under the guidance of a doctor. A detailed case history of the patient will help the physician to select the correct remedy.

References

  1. Better health channel. Department of Health and Human Services [internet]. State government of Victoria; Measles
  2. Dr Saurabh Ram Bihari Lal Shrivastava, Dr Prateek Saurabh Shrivastava, Dr Jegadeesh Ramasamy. Measles in India: Challenges & recent developments Infect Ecol Epidemiol. 2015; 5: 10.3402/iee.v5.27784 PMID: 26015306
  3. Center for Disease Control and Prevention [internet], Atlanta (GA): US Department of Health and Human Services; Transmission of Measles
  4. Department of Health [Internet]. New York State, U.S. Get the Facts About Measles.
  5. World Health Organization [Internet]. Geneva (SUI): World Health Organization; Measles
  6. Paolo Bellavite.Homeopathy and integrative medicine: keeping an open mind J Med Person. 2015; 13(1): 1–6 PMID: 25815160
  7. Raj K Manchanda.Evaluation of homoeopathic medicines as add-on to institutional management protocol in Acute Encephalitis Syndrome: An exploratory observational comparative study Indian Journal of Research in Homeopathy, 2015 ,Volume 9, Issue 1, Page 34-41
  8. Vaishali Shinde. A case of sub acute measles encephalitis in an immunocompetent child Indian Journal of Research in Homoeopathy, January - June 2012, Volume 6, No. 1 & 2
  9. William Boericke. Homeopathic Materia Medica. Kessinger Publishing: Médi-T 1999, Volume 1 Homoeopathic Materia Medica
  10. Samuel Hahnemann. Organon of Medicine Organon Of Medicine. 6th edition. Aphorism 259 to 261
  11. British Homeopathic Association. Is homeopathy safe?. London; [Internet]

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