Measles is an infection caused by the Rubeola virus, and it has been around for centuries. Before the development of the measles vaccine in 1963, measles epidemics occurred every few years, and these outbreaks would primarily affect children. Measles have effected people all over the world, though the number of cases in the US has reduced dramatically after routine vaccination began.
There are two types of measles each caused by a different type of virus. The Rubeola virus causes what is generally referred to as plain measles. Symptoms include cough, cold, fever, and a skin rash all over the body. This variety in rare occasions can lead to encephalitis or pneumonia that is life threatening. However, most of the time people recover from this strain of measles without any long lasting health problems.
German measles is caused by the Rubella virus and while this is a minor infection often lasting for only three days or so, it can cause serious birth defects if you catch this disease when you are pregnant.
Certain groups of people are at a higher risk of contracting measles, like infants who are less than one year old because they have not yet been vaccinated. Measles can be a deadly disease in some parts of the world, though there have been no recent cases of fatality in the US. it is said that the disease kills about 1 in every 1,000 people infected, however, those who survive have lifelong immunity.
Why Is This Virus So Contagious?
An infected person who coughs or sneezes can spray the virus into the air in small droplets, which can remain suspended for up to two hours. People with measles are infectious for about four days before and four days after the appearance of the rash. Before there was a vaccine, nearly everyone in the United States became infected with measles before the age of 15.
The majority of the cases this year have been tied to an outbreak at Disneyland, which began in December. At least 40 people who visited or worked at the theme park contracted measles, and the disease has now spread to at least six other states.
The numbers for this January alone are higher than many annual totals for the years since 2000. Last year, the United States only had 23 outbreaks of measles.
Symptoms of Measles
The symptoms of measles start appearing 10-14 days after the virus infects a host. This is called the incubation period and during this stage, the virus quickly multiplies in the body, and symptoms of measles include:
- Fatigue & Tiredness
- Cough & Cold
- Loss of Appetite
- Conjunctivitis or Red Eye
A few days after the onset of these symptoms you will start noticing the red rash that starts on the face and then spreads to the arms, trunk and legs. This rash consists of small raised reddish bumps that is not itchy but as you recover, there may be some peeling and irritation caused. You may also develop bluish-gray spots called Koplik Spots on the inside of your cheeks. This rash lasts for around five days with the fever reducing only a few days after the appearance of the rash.
Measles rarely causes any serious side effects or complications, but if your immunity is low (due to poor diet, malnourishment or HIV), there is a tendency to develop other conditions such as pneumonia, ear infections, or inflammation of the brain that can even be fatal.
The symptoms of German measles are much milder with an incubation period of ten days. Symptoms include:
- Red Eyes
- Swollen Lymph Nodes (back of the neck)
- Light Red or Pink Rash
Contract German measles as an adult it can cause aching joints especially around the knees and wrists. The most severe complication associated with German measles is the possibility of severe birth defects caused when a pregnant woman contracts the virus and passes on the infection to her unborn child. German measles during pregnancy may even cause premature labor and stillbirths.
Eating to Fight Measles
A proper diet can speed up recovery from measles and also help to build the immune system stop from contracting it in the first place, especially in the case of children who are infected.
Try to avoid the consumption of processed foods in particular, with lots of fruits& vegetables highly recommended during the first few days of the infection. Fresh fruit juices such as lemon and orange are highly beneficial due to their high vitamin C and fiber content.
The patient can also be put on a soft food diet consisting of fruits such as grapefruits, cantaloupes, and grapes, soups, and whole grain cereals with coconut or almond milk. Once the infection wanes, a balanced diet of fresh vegetables, fruits and foods high in vitamins and minerals is essential and a natural treatment for measles.
Carbonated beverages, over-processed meals, oily and fatty foods have to be avoided both during and after the infection. Your fluid intake is crucial in a measles infection and you should make it a point to consume adequate water, as well as other fluids like fruit juices to help prevent dehydration.
Eating a multitude of fruits and vegetables per day will place the body on the path to recovery very quickly especially if herbs and spices are added which are highly nutritious and have many healing properties. Pure unrefined Himalayan sea salt can help during fever and recovery as it contains 92 minerals which the body can lose during sweating and illness. Normal table salt and most sea salt has been refined and stripped of all its essential minerals.
It’s super easy to make highly nutritious foods to combat the measles. Blend a nutritious smoothie out of fruits, live probiotic Greek yogurt or kefir and pure raw honey. Make soup out of organic chicken or vegetable broth, miso paste, sea salt and some whole grain noodles.
Best Natural Foods & Cures for Measles
Pesticide free, organic food is far better for health and of far higher nutritional value.
Garlic: This is a very effective natural cure for measles. Mince a clove of garlic and mix with creamed pure raw honey, or add two minced cloves to your spaghetti sauce or soup, whatever you enjoy garlic in. Eat 3 to 6 cloves daily for best results.
Coconut Water: Coconut water has several nutrients that help cleanse the body of toxic elements. Also, it is rich in antioxidants that help promote a speedy recovery from measles by boosting the immune system. When suffering from measles, drink plenty of coconut water daily until you recover completely. This will keep the body hydrated and also save you from developing fatigue due to loss of energy.
Lemon juice: This juice is also a very effective when you take about 15-25ml of lemon juice, then mix it with water and pure raw honey. If using creamed honey, be sure to dissolve it in warm water then add the water & honey mixture to the juice.
Turmeric: Turmeric & Tamarind seeds are very effective natural cure for measles. Powder tamarind seeds, mix equal parts of the tamarind seed powder with turmeric powder , this mix should be given in doses of about two and a-half cups, three times a day. You can mix in 1 tablespoon honey to help the taste.
Avoid Turmeric if pregnant or taking anticoagulants (blood thinning medication) or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory such as aspirin and ibuprofen.
Barley: Barley water is a very effective natural cure to treat the coughs, in measles. The patient should drink barley water flavored with a few drops of sweetened almond oil as frequently as possible.
Egg plant seeds: Egg plant seeds help in developing immunity against measles. The patient can be given about half to one gram of the seeds daily for three days, for better results.
Orange juice: Orange is an excellent natural cure for measles. As the patient will feel a loss of appetite and the lack of saliva in his tongue, often the patient does not feel thirsty or hungry. Orange juice makes good for this loss of appetite.
Licorice: This is a very effective natural cure for measles. Licorice root is known for its antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties, so it is very effective in treatment.
Mix one-half tablespoon each of licorice powder and honey in a glass of lukewarm water. Drink this once daily to reduce coughing and soothe a sore throat. By mixing powdered liquorice root and pure raw honey into a paste, you can then take half a teaspoon daily. Continue until you completely recover.
Indian Gooseberry: Taking Indian gooseberry in a powder, and mixing it with water is very effective at getting rid of itching and burning sensation of measles by washing the body.
Margosa leaves: Margosa leaves contain antiviral and antiseptic properties that are effective in treating measles. Margosa leaves can be added to hot bathing water, to relieve the patient of the itching that comes with the rash. The infected patient should be immersed in the water for at least 20 minutes for best results.
Calendula Flowers: Calendula flowers, contains essential minerals, which help in speeding the healing process of measles. Boil three cups of water and add one tablespoon of the powdered flower. Drain and drink twice a day till the symptoms of measles exist. Peppermint oil and/or sugar can be added, to make it more effective and palatable.
More foods that are excellent in helping the body fight the infection and recover:
- Fish: oily fish, shellfish, halibut
- Dairy: eggs, Greek yogurt, kefir
- Vegetables: beetroot greens, carrots (raw & juiced), chicory, peas, dark leafy greens, okra, pumpkin, spinach, red peppers, turnip, yams, butternut squash, seaweed, sweet potatoes
- Whole Grains: barley, buckwheat, brown rice
- Fruit: apricots, avocado, blackberries, blueberries, lemon, mandarin oranges, mango, oranges, melon, papaya, peaches, pears, raisins, tangerines
- Nuts: coconut milk, almonds, walnuts
- Herbs: basil, Chinese rhubarb root, licorice root, oregano, thyme,
- Spices: turmeric, nutmeg, cinnamon
- Other Items: brine pickles, green tea, pure raw honey, olive oil, coconut oil
Image Credits: Flickr