Measles is one of the eruptive fevers, which most persons go through once in a lifetime, and generally during childhood; the disease usually occurs as an epidemic, and is contagions.

The First Symptoms of measles are those of a feverish cold; there is shivering, headache, loss of appetite, and perhaps vomiting; the eyes look red, and, as well as the nose, furnish increased watery discharge; there is hoarseness and cough. On the fourth day of the disease, or in from seventy to eighty-four hours after the first symptoms of sickness have shown themselves, the peculiar eruption of measles begins to appear, generally about the forehead, then on the neck and arms, and thence extends to the trunk and extremities; at first the eruption shows only in red points, not unlike flea-bites, but these soon enlarge into rather broad, slightly purplish, crescent-shaped spots, which are just perceptibly elevated above the skin. At this period the skin is hot, there is a good deal of general fever, with thirst, and much hoarse cough, with quickened breathing. After remaining out about four days, the eruption first, of course, on the face—begins to decline, and by the seventh day it has generally disappeared, leaving the skin slightly roughened, followed by separation of the cuticle in small scales.

Treatment

In any case of measles, the safest plan is, of course, to have medical attendance; very many parents, however, in the humbler classes, when the prevailing epidemic is mild in character, take the matter in their own hands, and do little more than keep their children in bed for a day or two, if they do even that. There is no question that a mild attack of measles will get well without any treatment: but in even the mildest, ordinary care to guard against cold should be observed, this being, of course, requisite in proportion to the season of the year. If the attack be a smart one, the person should be kept in bed and moderately warm, allowed to drink freely of diluent and especially of demulcent drinks, such as barley-water. The diet should consist of milk and farinaceous matters; cooling fruits and such like may be allowed, the bowels at the same time being attended to, but not purged. Should the eruption of measles seem tardy in coming out, or come out small or insufficiently, or, after having shown itself, should it disappear again suddenly and before the time of its regular decline, danger must be apprehended. The warm bath is at once the safest and the best remedy; the child being kept in the water temperature 980—from ten to twenty minutes, according to age.

Remedies

Aconite, for the chills or fever. If this does not relieve, Bryonia may be alternated with it. Bryonia for the cough; Drosera for the cough that may follow. Pulsatilla for the eye, nose and throat symptoms. If the frequent repetition of Aconite and Bryonia does not bring out the eruption the patient may take a drink of sour cider in which is a small powder of soda or saleratus, to be drank while foaming. If this fails to bring out the eruption, a cold wet sheet pack, rightly applied, will do it.