Homeopathic Treatment for Measles and Whooping Cough

easles and Whooping Cough are both acute childhood diseases.  Acute childhood diseases have their own importance in a child’s developmental journey.  I have often seen that after having a childhood disease the child will often go through big developmental leaps.  If they were only speaking one word at a time, you might find that afterwards they will string a small sentence together; if their drawings were scribbles before, after they may start drawing identifiable trees and other objects.  For most people it is better to get these diseases in childhood (before adolescence) as a healthy, well-nourished child has plenty of vitality to overcome the illnesses with more ease, and a natural infection can produce lasting immunity so that the next generation can be protected while very young through antibodies passed through their mother’s placenta and breast milk.

In my clinic I find measles to be the easier of the two illnesses to treat as it responds quickly to a well matched remedy and goes through very clear stages which often starts with a fever and cold-like symptoms and includes the rash.  Treated homeopathically,  measles is often milder than it otherwise would be and is less likely to develop any secondary complications such as encephalitis or pneumonia.  Here are some different approaches I have taken with measles cases in my clinic.

Case #1:

A 2 year old little girl presents with a fever and clear runny nose.  She has been in daycare and is not vaccinated.  I want to rule out teething so I look in her mouth and see little whitish grey spots inside that can be typical of measles before the rash comes fully out.  She responds well to Belladonna for the fever and is back in my clinic in 24 hours with no fever but the beginnings of a rash on her upper chest.  Now she is clingy and the discharge from her nose is still there but a bit thicker.  I prescribe Pulsatilla which results in a happy little girl with hardly an itch as the rash continues to express itself by spreading over her chest and abdomen.  This client has a history of a recurrent coughs and in a few days we notice that the measles rash has stopped progressing any further over the body or down the arms and she has developed a cough.

This is what I always watch out for in my clinic with measles; I want to see the rash really develop and move down the body and out the arms and legs.  If it moves up the body to the head or the rash does not really develop fully and the child develops a cough then the remedy must be changed to ‘push out’ the disease from the lungs and on to the skin and then down the body and out the extremities.  This is the correct direction of cure according to homeopathic philosophy and a key identifier for homeopaths to be able to judge if their remedies are still correct or need to be changed.

I change the remedy once more to Antimonium tartaricum and as the mucus reduces and the cough heals, the rash continues to express on the skin.  We finish off with a wee bit of Sulphur to finish off the cough symptoms and the rash.  What was remarkable in this case is that the child remained very happy in temperament right throughout her dose of the measles and was hardly itchy.  This is typical of good homeopathic treatment of an acute illness.

 Case #2:

I have a 4 year old girl presenting with the after effects of measles in my office.  She has not been quite well since having the measles.  Her stools have remained loose and acidic for the last 3 weeks and she seems to have an ongoing, low grade runny nose since the illness.  Her behaviour indicates she is not feeling quite well, she is a bit more argumentative with Mum than usual and not quite her normal happy self.  In this instance I prescribed the measles nosode, Morbillinum.  Morbillinum is the remedy made from the discharge from a person with measles.  It is a fantastic remedy when a measles case has not been well treated or the child does not quite bounce back fully afterwards.  I thought that this case was interesting in that often I will see children in my clinic whose stools have not been formed and healthy since soon after having the measles vaccine and this is the symptom I saw in this case after directly having a dose of the measles.   This child’s stools returned to a more normal consistency over the 15 day period that the Morbillinum was prescribed for and she also became more of her old happier self.  Please seek a qualified homeopath’s advice if your child has had symptoms persist ever since having a case of the measles and the homepath can assess the case as to whether Morbillinum should be used.  (NB:  The use of Morbillinum is not advisable while a child has the measles.)

Whooping Cough

I have not seen many coughs in my clinic with the traditional ‘whoop-whoop, gag and vomit’ of severe whooping cough but I have seen lots of coughs which are paroxysmal with plenty of gagging and vomiting.  Several of those cases have already been to the doctor but have been diagnosed with a viral cough [some had been swabbed and some hadn’t) so they turn to homeopathy to help.  It is possible that some of these cases are mild whooping cough caused by Bordatella pertussis as there has been a recent increase of cases of whooping cough in NZ.  Over the past two months I have been seeing more cases of children with spasmodic coughs with an age range from two and a half years to twelve years old, with a preponderance of cases in the  three to five years old age group.

My practice is in a community where most mothers are well informed about nutrition and breast feed their children, often into the second year of their life, which helps reduce the risk of their developing whooping cough in the first year of life when it is most serious (and is occasionally fatal).  Better nutrition also helps reduce the severity of the disease.

When treated homeopathically, just like other acute illnesses whooping cough will be milder and shorter in duration.  However whooping cough traditionally can last 3-4 months.  In some cases, this disease will respond very quickly to a good remedy but mostly it may need many remedies over a period of time.  I recommend that you work closely with your homeopath during this time and quickly let them know if the cough no longer seems to be responding to the prescribed remedy.  If I prescribe a remedy in whooping cough then I want to see some good changes within 24-48 hrs.  If there is little response, then I want to change the remedy.

One of the main remedies for whooping cough is Drosera which has the symptoms of a dry cough that is paroxysmal and accompanied by vomiting.  It is worse for warmth or a warm bed, lying down and after midnight.  The child will feel better in open air.  The Kali salts are also a very good family of remedies for paroxysmal coughs and often have tenacious thick mucus and tickling coughs.  A qualified homeopath will be able to best individualise the prescription for the client’s cough and accompanying symptoms.  The pointers to the correct remedies will be such things as whether the cough is better or worse for eating, drinking or laughing.  A homeopath will want to know if it is painful and what time of day it seems to be worst amongst many other symptoms.

There are hundreds of remedies in homeopathy for cough symptoms. At the end of successful homeopathic whooping cough treatment the lungs should recover well and not be a future weak point for infection. Below is a case study of a child who was suffering from a paroxysmal cough that shows how remedies may need to be changed often to help the body respond to the challenges of infection.

Case Study:

A 5 year old boy presenting with a loose paroxysmal cough that is much worse for talking, eating and lying down in bed.  In fact when this little boy came to see me, he was on liquid food as anything else would bring on the cough so violently that his parents were worried that he would choke. This cough will also be worse for emotions and excitement and would really come on at midnight.  The boy would have to sit up in bed with this suffocating cough and he would gag and gasp for breath.  He would also vomit at night during these cough episodes.  Alongside the cough he had thick, green nasal discharge and his nose was blocked.  This little fellow had a previous history of being clingy to Mum.

This time I prescribed the client two remedies, to be taken alongside eachother.  This is not normal practice for the strictly classical homeopath but he had symptoms from both of these remedies and the cough was extremely distressing for his parents. Bryonia was given for the paroxysmal cough that was triggered so violently by eating and for the way that he would need to gasp for a deep breath during the cough.  Kali carb was also given due to the clingy but firm and stubborn nature of the child.  It too, matched the cough symptoms as Kali carb is much worse for lying down, after midnight, and can have gagging and vomiting with a violent suffocative cough.  I suspected that one of the remedies would only be needed for a short time and that the other would be useful for a little while.  The mother left with strict instructions to contact me if the symptom picture changed or was no longer responding to the remedies.  This mother has used homeopathy for some time now and I asked her to watch for when one remedy seemed to be having less of an effect and at that point to just continue on the other remedy.

Four days later, the little boy returned to my clinic.  Sure enough, the Bryonia had stopped working  a day or so before and the mother had continued on with Kali carb.  He was now sleeping through until 5am when he would wake with a loose cough and sit up.  At other times it was a paroxysmal and dry cough, still worse from eating, exertion and emotions.  However, it was less intense and not as often and everyone was getting more sleep.  He was nasally sounding and seemed a bit hearing impaired from the congestion.  His nasal discharge was light green, thin and scanty and his nose was still blocked.  Now his tonsils were red and swollen.  He had become more clingy over the last few days.  I advised the mother to continue on the Kali carb with regular doses daily until the cough symptoms stopped improving.

Six days later the little fellow appeared in my office again.  Now he had a loose cough that was only four short coughs at a time.  This was quite an improvement, however it was still worse for exertion and excitement and still worse for eating.  However it had improved so much that he was able to eat normally again with no fear of choking.  He was still sounding nasally and his hearing seemed a little impaired.  It also seemed that there might be some early teething happening as he was complaining that his mouth was sore.  He also had a ravenous appetite.  I sent him home with a prescription for Phosphorus 1M which matched all of his symptoms with his cough, congestion in the nasal passages and his appetite.  This remedy supports the balance of calcium and phosphorus in the body and is very useful in growing children who are busy laying down their calcium into new bones and teeth.  It is also appropriate for people who have a tickly cough that is worse for exertion and eating.   I saw his mother a few days later and he was doing very well on his remedy.

This is an example of a cough that has responded very well to good remedies over a ten day period.  It also shows how often even a good remedy might have to be changed in any acute disease and how useful it is to work closely with your homeopath.

Conclusion

Acute childhood diseases are best treated from the beginning of their fever right to the end with homeopathy.  I think that this greatly reduces the likelihood of secondary complications while supporting the child’s immune system.  As ever, homeopathy seeks to boost the body’s own ability to heal, therefore leaving the subject stronger, healthier and happier.  Homoeopathy does not replace conventional medical treatment but can often fill the gap very well indeed when conventional methods have difficulty treating these illnesses.

 

Editor’s note: As the case history above illustrates, any infection which causes a severe cough accompanied by vomiting has the potential to cause a child to become debilitated if it is not treated promptly – and is also exhausting for parents.  Whooping cough is a toxin mediated disease, the coughing spasms being largely provoked by the toxins produced by the  Bordatella pertussis bacteria.  Taking supplementary vitamin C (or giving vitamin C by injection) supports the body in dealing with the toxin and can significantly reduce the  severity of whooping cough symptoms.  Vitamin C can be used in conjunction with homoeopathy or herbal medicine – and is a very good treatment option for people who live in an area where they cannot access skilled homoeopathic treatment.  If you think your child may have pertussis and want to use vitamin C please consult a health professional about suitable dosages.  If you suspect your child may have measles or pertussis it’s important to  phone ahead before taking your child to a medical or health clinic so that arrangements can be made to minimise the risk of spread of the infection to other patients.

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