Measles, a highly infectious disease, is very common m childhood. It is so common at this stage of life that nearly all children in most parts of the world suffer f’rom it.

Causes and Symptoms

The first symptoms that appear for seven to fourteen days after exposure to the virus are feverishness, cold, watering of the eyes, and a dry cough. A rash appears on the skin four days after onset of these symptoms. This rash, which consists of small rounded spots with reddened skin in between, initially appears on the sides of the face and the neck, and then gradually spreads all over the body, appearing last on the extremities. Initially pink in colour, the spots grow darker as time passes.

Measles is usually accompanied by fever and diarrhoea. In severe cases, high fever and delirium may occur. Complications which can arise from this disease include pneumonia, bronchitis, and abscesses in the ears. One serious but rare complication is inflammation of the brain.

Measles is one of the most contagious diseases caused by a virus. This disease 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 causes of this disease, like other diseases of childhood, are however, wrong feeding habits and unhygienic living conditions.

Remedies

Orange: Oranges are very valuable in measles, as 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 thirst 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 ideal liquid food for this disease.

Lemon Juice: The juice of lemon also makes an effective thirst-quenching drink in measles. About 15 to 25 ml of lemon juice, diluted with water, should be taken for this purpose.

Turmeric: Turmeric is beneficial in the treatment of measles. Raw roots of turmeric should be dried in the sun and ground to a fine powder. Half a teaspoon of this powder, mixed with a few drops of honey and the juice of a few bitter gourd leaves, should be given to patients suffering from measles.

Liquorice: Powdered liquorice has been found valuable in relieving the cough, which is typical in measles. The child patient should be given half a teaspoon of powdered liquorice mixed with 4e same quantity of honey.

Barley: The use of barley water has proved beneficial for the troublesome cough in measles. This water should be taken frequently, sweetened with the newly-drawn oil of sweet almonds.

Egg Plant Seeds: The seeds of the egg plant are a stimulant. Intake of half to one gram of these seeds daily for three days will help develop immunity against measles for one year.

Dietary Considerations

At the beginning of the treatment, the patient should be given juices of fresh fruits like oranges and lemons frequently. This is sufficient as the child suffers from a lack of appetite during this period.

As the condition improves, the child can be placed on an all- fruit diet for a few days. Thereafter he may be allowed to gradually embark upon a well-balanced diet.

Other Measures

The child 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 a 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.

Children having measles should not be allowed to mix with others so as to avoid passing on the infection to them. In fact, they should take complete rest Hygienic conditions, along with the above-mentioned treatment, will lead to a speedy recovery. Medication should be strictly avoided.

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