Since measles is caused by a virus, there is no specific treatment for it, but the symptoms usually improve within seven to 10 days.1 While the measles virus runs its course, supportive care, good nutrition and adequate fluid intake are essential in boosting your immunity to help fight the virus and enhance recovery.
Alleviating the Common Symptoms of Measles
Measles treatment aims to ease your symptoms and reduce risk of complications.2 If you get infected with the measles virus, make sure to incorporate these lifestyle recommendations to lessen discomfort, help get well faster and prevent serious complications:
• Stay home and get extra rest – Almost everyone who catches measles will require plenty of rest. Isolating yourself or the person infected with measles will also prevent spreading the virus to others, particularly those who are more vulnerable to the infection, such as infants, young children and pregnant women.3
• Rest your eyes – While you rest in a well-ventilated room, make sure to keep away from direct light as your eyes can get very sensitive. Keep the lights low and avoid watching too much TV, using gadgets or reading to prevent further eye irritation and fatigue.4
• Seek respiratory relief – As the initial symptoms of measles are like a bad cold, including runny nose, sneezing, cough and sore throat,5 using a cool-mist humidifier or vaporizer can help relax your airways, relieving cough and sore throat.6
• Drink plenty of fluids – Sip water and herbal tea at regular intervals during the day to replenish fluids lost from sweating and fever.
Apart from reducing your risk of dehydration, drinking fresh and organic citrus juices, such as orange and lemon juice, can counteract the loss of appetite brought on by the infection, and help boost your immunity with their vitamin C content.7
Another healthy choice is coconut water, which is is rich in nutrients that help rehydrate and cleanse your body of toxic elements. It is also rich in antioxidants that can help facilitate speedy recovery from the infection.8
These Natural Remedies May Also Help Fight Measles
Natural treatments like herbs and supplements can help fight the measles virus and may help you recover from the disease faster. Below are some options you can try:
• Barley – It is packed with vitamin C, minerals and antioxidants, and aids in speeding up the healing process as it is also rich in zinc. Barley water can provide relief against dry, heavy coughs, while a barley bath helps soothe skin irritation and itching.9,10
• Licorice root – You may drink powdered licorice root mixed with a little honey to relieve cough.11,12
• Turmeric – With its antiseptic and antioxidant properties, this herb is effective in helping to alleviate the symptoms of measles. Turmeric powder mixed with milk can help improve your immunity.13
• Vitamin A – There is a direct link between measles and vitamin A deficiency that can result in severe complications like eye problems or even vision loss.14 Measles is to blame for an estimated 15,000 to 60,000 cases of blindness in children living in low-income countries per year.
To help combat visual loss related to measles, vitamin A supplements are often given to infected people, most especially children. This treatment has been shown to reduce the measles fatality rate by half.15,16 The World Health Organization recommends administration of an oral dose of 200,000 international units (100,000 international units for infants) of vitamin A per day for two days to children with measles in areas where vitamin A deficiency is prevalent.17
Although measles is a potentially life-threatening illness, you can prevent serious complications and make a full recovery through these lifestyle changes and natural remedies. Just remember to keep an eye out for any signs of serious complications, including drowsiness, dehydration, breathing difficulties or convulsion.18 If any of these symptoms occur, consult your physician immediately.