The disease appears in epidemic form, often in the winter season.
The first symptoms which appear during 7 to 14 days after exposure to the virus are feverishness, cold, watering of the eyes and dry cough. Rashes appear on the skin in three to five days after the onset of these symptoms. These rashes, which consist of small rounded spots with reddened skin in between, initially appear on the sides of the face and the neck and then gradually spread all over the body, appearing last on the extremities. Initially pink in colour, these rashes grow darker as time passes.
Measles is usually accompanied with slight fever and diarrhoea. In rare cases of great severity, high fever and delirium may occur. Complications which can arise from this disease include pneumonia, bronchitis, and ear abscess. One serious but rare complication is the inflammation of the brain.
Measles is one of the most contagious diseases, caused by a virus. The measles virus is so infectious that in cities, children catch this disease before they reach the age of five years.
Mothers generally pass their antibodies to their children which immunize them passively. This protection, however, does not last beyond the six months. Measles is easily transmitted in the early stages through the invisible droplets of moisture which are discharged from a patient’s nose or mouth when he coughs or sneezes.
The real cause of this disease, like other diseases of childhood, is, however, wrong feed and unhygienic living conditions. Measles is thus a natural healing crisis aimed at cleansing the infant organism of the toxins and deleterious and products resulting from the assimilation of the vast excess of starchy and sugary foods consumed by young children today.
In the beginning of the treatment, the patient should be given juices of fresh fruits like orange and lemon frequently. This is sufficient as the child suffers from lack of appetite during this period. He should be kept in a well ventilated room. As light has a detrimental effect upon the eyes during measles, because of the weakened condition of the external eye tissues, the child should have his eyes shaded or the room should have subdued light.
The treatment should aim at bringing down the temperature and eliminating the toxins from the system. This can be achieved by administration of warm water enema every morning, application of mud packs on the abdomen twice a day in the morning and evening and repeated application of chest packs. Lukewarm water baths can be given every day to ease itching.
Addition of extracts of neem leaves to this water will prove beneficial. As the condition improves, the child can be placed on an all fruit diet for a further few days. Thereafter he may be allowed to gradually embark upon a well-balanced diet.
Certain home remedies have been found beneficial in the treatment of measles. The most valuable amongst these is the use of orange. When the digestive power of the body is seriously hampered, the patient suffers from intense toxaemia and the lack of saliva coats his tongue and often destroys his thrust for water as well as his desire for food. The agreeable flavour of orange juice helps greatly in overcoming these drawbacks. Orange juice is the most ideal liquid food in this disease.
The juice of lemon is another remedy. It also makes an effective thirst-quenching drink in measles. About 15 to 25 ml. of lemon juice , should be taken diluted with water for this purpose.
Turmeric (haldi) is beneficial in the treatment of measles. Raw roots of turmeric should be dried in the sun and ground to a fine powder. This powder, mixed with a few drops of honey and the juice of a few bitter gourd leaves, should be given to the patient suffering from measles.
Powdered liquorice (mulethi) has been found valuable in relieving the cough, typical of measles. The child patient should be given this powdered liquorice mixed with honey.
The use of barley (Jau) water has proved beneficial in case of troublesome cough in measles. This water should be taken frequently sweetened with the newly drawn oil of sweet almonds.
The seeds of eggplant (baingan) are stimulant. Intake of half a gram to one gram of these seeds daily for three days will help develop immunity against measles for one year.
Children having measles should not be allowed to mix with others. They should be given complete rest. Hygienic condition along with the above mentioned treatment will lead to speed recovery. Medications should be strictly avoided.