English Measles is caused by Morbillivirus. It is an epidemic illness also known as rubeola (German measles is known as rubella) This childhood disease was extremely common before the introduction of vaccinations. In children it expresses itself with runny nose, fever, headache, conjuctivitis and/or light sensitivity, Koplik’s spots and a red rash which spreads over the body.
How do you catch it? From airborne droplets from a contagious person.
Is there an incubation period? Yes. Incubation is 9-14 days.
For how long is my child infectious? Contagion is 3-4 days before the onset of the rash then until the rash begins to fade. In total between 7-8 days.
When is my child most contagious? The 3-4 days before onset of the rash is the most contagious time period.
How can I tell when my child has English measles? The only diagnostic symptom for English measles are the Koplik’s spots. These are small, round white dots which are surrounded by red areas of inflammation. They appear on the gums and the inside of the cheeks. However they are fleeting and last for only 24 hours, hence easily missed.
What are the stages? Symptoms usually appear in two stages.
First stage; The child will be generally out of sorts and more tired than normal. They may also have the common symptoms of runny nose, mild fever, cough, headache, backache all looking like a cold or mild flu. Conjuctivitis, red eyes and light sensitivity then leads one to suspect measles. The inital mild fever will rise a little each day.
Second stage; This stage begins after 3 or 4 days and is followed by a definite rise in temperature. At this point it is important not to supress the fever even if it is relatively high. The supression of the fever can cause complications (such as otitis media) to develop. The Koplik’s spots will now appear, followed by a red rash (small pink spots) on the skin. This rash starts behind the ears and at the hairline. It spreads from the head to the feet over most of the body and usually disappears after 4 days. In some cases there can be a blotchy appearance and the rash may turn brownish and flaky. The rash may or may not be itchy. Once the rash appears the fever normally subsides.
How long does English measles last? From the onset of the first syptoms about 8 days.
Are there any benefits to my child contracting measles? Contracting measles naturally, confers life-long immunity. Measles according to Didier Grandgeorge (a prominent French pediatrician) enables the child to wipe the slate clean in terms of the symbiotic relationship with the mother, moving into the next stage and the development of speech. Interesting when you look at the link made between vaccination and autism where speech becomes impossible. In any event it is clear that after contracting measles children will often have growth spurts on the physical, mental and emotional levels as their brain function and immune systems are further developed.
What’s the worst thing and are there any or unusual complications? Very rarely measles can lead to complications from secondary infections for example; otitis or pneumonia. With standard care and particularly with the use of homeopathic remedies measles progresses very well with few if any complications. In malnourished populations or immuno-supressed individuals (children undergoing chemotherapy) complications are common.
What are the natural treatment options?
Make sure your child has adequate rest and sleep.
Hydration is always important so encourage increased water intake. Herbal teas using peppermint, honey, ginger and lemon can help with the cough.
Small healthy meals. Plenty of soups and broths. See Chicken noodle soup.
With eye sensitivity keep lighting dim, curtains partially closed and restrict television and computer use.
Supplement with Vitamin A.
Increase vitamin C uptake, offer fresh fruit, lemon and honey drinks.
Change sheets and pyjamas each day.
Homeopathic remedies carefully selected on the individual’s symptoms.
Does contracting English measles naturally give life-long immunity? Yes it does. The medical vaccination sometimes gives a measure of immunity for a limited amount of time. Hence the increased incidence of adult’s contracting measles, as their vaccine acquired immunity runs out.
Is there such a thing as homeopathic prevention (prophylaxis) of English measles? Yes there are remedies that are useful to prevent or at least lesson the symptoms of English measles. Again contracting measles will infer lifelong immunity so this is something to take into consideration. However as previously stated measles can be a serious disease in immuno-compromised children.
When would it be helpful to use a homeopathic remedy?
If you feel that your child need help to progress the illness; for example
If the rash fails to appear, as a consequence of an inefficient fever.
If a secondary infection should develop.
In an immune-compromised person.
Using homeopathic remedies.
My intention in this section is to show you what to look for if your child needs homeopathic support. A quick call or email to myself or your homeopath may be all you need, to help to confirm which remedy if any you should use. With homeopathic remedies it is common to administer the appropriate remedy perhaps only once or twice. If there is no change or improvement after a few doses (maximum of 5 doses), you may need to rethink your choice of remedy. Sometimes (in the first stage) after the administration of a good remedy the fever may increase for a time and the full rash will develop. The increased fever is a natural mechanism the body uses to eliminate the virus.
Some of the more commonly indicated remedies;
MORBILLINUM; Can be used as a prophylactic either before or after infection.
PULSATILLA; Also used as a prophylactic, pulsatilla is the number one homeopathic remedy for treatment of measles. The child is clingy, weepy and whinging. The fever is mild and the child is usually thirstless. They are often worse in the late afternoon. They have a tendency to green discharges in conjuctivitis and from the nose.
EUPHRASIA; When the eyes are causing the most suffering for the child, the eyes are photosensitive with severe lachrymation (tears) which causes the skin around the eyes to become red, sore and irritated.
Pointers to the common remedies. Dr M.L.Tyler. Jain Publishers.
Homeopathy for Pregnancy, Birth, and your baby’s first year. Mirandra Castro. St Martin’s Press.
Vaccine Free. Kate Birch. Narayana Publishers.
Concordant Materia Medica. Frans Vermeulen. Merlijin Publishers.
Spectrum of homeopathy. Volume 3. Narayana Publishers.