Measles (Holistic)

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About This Condition

This highly contagious childhood disease affects adults, too. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
  • Ease the itching

    Control itching and reduce fever by taking lukewarm baths with added mineral salts or oatmeal

  • Find out about vaccinations

    Discuss the potential risks and benefits of a measles vaccine

  • Ask about A

    Talk to your healthcare provider about supplementing with vitamin A to help prevent measles complications and speed recovery

  • Get a checkup

    Visit your doctor to make sure your measles infection does not result in serious complications

About

About This Condition

Measles is a potentially serious, highly contagious infection caused by the measles virus.

Infection is easily transmitted by kissing or being coughed or sneezed upon by an infected person. The recent introduction of an effective vaccine against measles has greatly reduced the number of cases in many countries, though some developing nations continue to experience serious measles epidemics in children.

Symptoms

Symptoms of measles begin with a runny nose, cough, muscle aches, fatigue, and a slight fever, often accompanied by redness of the eyes and sensitivity to light. Later, the fever rises and a mildly itchy red rash develops on the face and spreads to the lower body. In severe cases, there may be high fever, convulsions, pneumonia, or severe diarrhea, and some severe cases can result in death.

Healthy Lifestyle Tips

Treatment of measles is aimed at minimizing discomfort as the symptoms develop. Since people with measles tend to run a high fever, reducing the temperature with a lukewarm bath can reduce aches and other discomforts.1 Adding mineral salts or oatmeal to the bath water may reduce the itchiness of the skin.2 , 3 Because of their sensitivity to light, being in a room with dimmed lights will be soothing to the person with measles.

Supplements

What Are Star Ratings?
Supplement Why
3 Stars
Vitamin A
200,000 IU daily for two days under medical supervision
In developing countries where vitamin A deficiency is common, preventive supplementation with vitamin A reduced the risk of death in children with measles.

Measles appears to increase the body's need for vitamin A. Studies in developing countries have shown that measles infection is more frequent and severe in people with low vitamin A blood levels, and preliminary research suggests this may also be true in the developed world. Repeatedly in controlled trials, preventive supplementation with vitamin A, at oral doses of up to 400,000 IU per day, reduced the risk of death in children with measles living in developing countries. Whether vitamin A supplementation would help people with measles in developed countries, where deficiency is uncommon, is less clear. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children with measles be given a short course of high-dose vitamin A. Two controlled studies of urban South African and Japanese children hospitalized with severe measles showed that supplementation with 100,000 to 400,000 IU of vitamin A resulted in faster recoveries, fewer complications, and fewer pneumonia-related deaths. An older study in England found one ounce per day of cod liver oil (containing about 40,000 IU of vitamin A, plus vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids) reduced measles-related deaths in children hospitalized with severe cases of the disease. Such large doses of vitamin A should only be taken under a doctor's supervision.

1 Star
Flavonoids
Refer to label instructions
Flavonoids are nutrients found in the white, pithy parts of fruits and vegetables. Certain flavonoids have been found to inhibit the infectivity of measles virus in the test tube.

Flavonoids are nutrients found in the white, pithy parts of fruits and vegetables. In preliminary laboratory research, certain flavonoids have been found to inhibit the infectivity of measles virus in the test tube. Whether flavonoid supplements could be effective in preventing or treating measles is unknown.

References

1. Boyle W, Saine A. Lectures in naturopathic hydrotherapy. East Palestine, Ohio: Buckeye Naturopathic Press, 1988.

2. Lust, J. The Herb Book. New York: Bantam Books, 1974.

3. Pigatto P, Bigardi A, Caputo R, et al. An evaluation of the allergic contact dermatitis potential of colloidal grain suspensions. Am J Contact Dermat 1997;8:207-9.