Measles (Rubeola)


Signs and Symptoms

  • Body-wide rash
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Persistent cough
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Tiny white spots on the inside of the cheek


Measles, a severe illness that usually strikes children, is caused by a virus that is transmitted via infected droplets-usually the droplets are inhaled from an infected person’s sneeze or cough. In healthy people, measles usually poses little health threat. Infants, the elderly, and people with poor health, on the other hand, can develop serious complications, such as pneumonia or encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). Fortunately, people who have had measles become permanently immune, preventing them from getting the disease again.

A few days after being infected with the virus, the measles victim will develop flu-like symptoms, such as a fever, coughing, sneezing, and sore throat. After three to five days, white spots begin to develop on the inside of the cheek, followed by the characteristic red blotchy rash, which appears on the face and slowly spreads to the neck, torso, arms, and legs. This rash may last up to 10 days before slowly fading. Unfortunately, measles is most infectious during the 10 to 14 days after infection, particularly before the rash appears.

Conventional Medical Treatment

If you suspect you have measles, call your physician (rather than making an office visit, since the virus is highly contagious) to see if you need an appointment. Measles usually does not require medical attention and is cared for in isolation until the rash disappears. Acetaminophen and over-the-counter cough medicine can be used to treat individual symptoms.

If, however, you are unsure that you have measles, or are particularly uncomfortable with the illness, your physician may ask to see you. A physical exam is usually all that is necessary to diagnose the condition, although your doctor may take a blood sample. Call your physician immediately if you begin to vomit, since this can be a sign of encephalitis, a dangerous inflammation of the brain.

Complementary and Alternative Treatments

Nutrition and Supplementation

Drink plenty of fluids, including water, juices, and vegetable broth. Boost your immune system with these daily supplements:

  • vitamin A (10,000 IU twice for 1 week, then reduce to 10,000 IU once; do not exceed this dosage; do not exceed 8000 if you are pregnant)
  • cod liver oil (as directed on label)-for children who can’t swallow capsules
  • proteolytic enzymes (as directed on label)-reduces infection
  • raw thymus glandular (500 mg twice daily)-stimulates the immune system
  • vitamin C (300 to 1000 mg in divided doses for children; 1000 to 3000 mg in divided doses for adults)-vital to immune function; controls fever and infection
  • vitamin B complex (50 mg 3 times daily)-promotes healing; for a child under eight, use a formula specifically designed for children
  • zinc (1 I5-mg lozenge 3 times daily for 4 days, then reduce to 1 lozenge daily)-speeds healing; relieves itchy throat and cough

(Consult your healthcare provider regarding the duration of treatment.)

Traditional Chinese Medicine

Acupuncture Rubeola, also known as hard measles, cannot be cured with acupuncture (as is true of any viral infection), but this treatment can be helpful in lessening associated symptoms, such as fever and rash. Acupuncture also can be used to bolster the immune system, which may help lessen the risk of additional complications, such as bronchitis and ear infections.

Chinese Herbal Therapy A TCM practitioner may recommend that burdock be taken internally, or mixed with water and used as an external wash to combat a measles rash. Red, irritated eyes may be remedied with Chinese black cohosh. A child’s dose of Hex and Evodia (Can Moo Ling) may be used to speed recovery.




More than 300 years ago, physicians noticed that some people-almost always the elderly-suddenly keeled over dead or paralyzed, often after complaining of headaches, dizziness, or weakness. These attacks seemed to come out of the blue, like a stroke of bad luck. So they named the condition stroke.

Stroke is the nation’s third leading cause of death, after heart disease and cancer. About 700,000 Americans suffer strokes each year, and almost 160,000 die from them, according to the American Heart Association.

With statistics like these, you’d think people would be able to recite the warning signs of stroke as easily as the lyrics of “Jingle Bells:” But unfortunately, few can. For a leading cause of death, stroke is a tragically well-kept secret. Many people don’t even know the six key warning signs: dizziness, numbness, weakness on one side, slurred speech, vision problems, and severe headache.

There are two main types of stroke: ischemic, caused by blocked blood flow through part of the brain, and hemorrhagic, caused by a burst blood vessel that bleeds into your brain. Ischemic stroke accounts for 75 percent of all strokes.

Ischemic strokes are virtually identical to heart attacks, except that they happen in your brain instead of your heart. These strokes begin with tiny injuries to brain arteries caused by high blood pressure, smoking, or a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet. Over time, these injured areas get covered with cholesterol-rich deposits called plaques that narrow the injured arteries.

Sometimes a plaque ruptures, causing a blood clot in the artery and cutting off the blood supply to part of your brain. That’s an ischemic stroke. In fact, heart attacks and ischemic strokes are so similar that the American Heart Association now calls them brain attacks.

Some time before you have a stroke, you experience one or more mini-strokes (transient ischemic attacks, or TIAs). During a TIA, there’s a temporary blockage of blood flow in your brain. But then the blockage dissolves on its own, and blood flow returns to normal. You seem to recover completely. The average TIA lasts about a minute.

Ischemic strokes have many of the same risk factors as heart attacks. Anything you can do to reduce these risk factors is likely to reduce your risk of stroke, too.


Best Choices


Make do without meat. If you eat meat every day, you may double your stroke risk, according to Yale neurologist John Lynch, M.D. For 10 years, Dr. Lynch tracked 6,500 stroke-free men between ages 57 and 67. In that time, 12 percent of the men who ate meat daily had strokes. But among those who ate meat only one to three times a month, just 5.4 percent experienced strokes.

Eat copious quantities of produce. A high-fat, high-cholesterol diet increases stroke risk by contributing to the formation of free radicals. These unstable oxygen molecules damage the arteries in your brain. Fortunately, a great deal of this damage can be prevented by special nutrients called antioxidants, found in abundance in fruits and vegetables. One British study found that those who eat the most fruit experience 32 percent fewer strokes.

A diet high in antioxidants helps prevent hemorrhagic as well as ischemic stroke, according to Alan Gaby, M.D. “Vitamin C and the flavonoids usually found with vitamin C in foods help maintain blood vessel integrity,” he explains. “This reduces the likelihood of bleeding in the brain.”

Boost your intake of Bs. In addition to being rich in antioxidants, fruits and vegetables contain generous supplies of vitamin B6 and folic acid. These B vitamins reduce levels of homocysteine, a recently identified risk factor for stroke.

For vitamin B6, clinical nutritionist Shari Lieberman, Ph.D., recommends spinach, carrots, peas, walnuts, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, fish (especially salmon and herring), chicken, and eggs. Foods rich in folic acid include spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, asparagus, and whole wheat.

Feast on fish. Dutch researchers who have tracked the health, diet, and lifestyles of people in Zutphen, the Netherlands, for many years have found that those who eat fish regularly have a lower rate of stroke than those who don’t. Cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel, and herring are the richest sources of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, but most other fish and seafood contain some as well.

Munch a few walnuts. Besides being delicious, walnuts contain an oil rich in alpha-linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid similar to the health-enhancing omega-3 fatty acids found in fish. Alpha-linolenic and omega-3 fatty acids help prevent the internal blood clots that trigger stroke. You can also obtain alpha-linolenic acid from canola and soybean oils.

Pounce on potassium. Dietary potassium helps prevent high blood pressure, and researchers have found that it might help prevent stroke. Good food sources of potassium include fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, poultry, and fish. “Basically, the higher your blood potassium level, the lower your risk of stroke;” Dr. Gaby says.


Buy your Bs in a bottle. If you’re concerned that your diet might not provide enough vitamin B6 and folic acid to prevent stroke, Dr. Lieberman suggests taking supplements of both nutrients. Aim for 300 milligrams of B6 and 800 micrograms of folic acid a day. Vitamin B6 doses this high, however, should only be taken under medical supervision.

Add E for extra protection. “Several large population studies have demonstrated that blood levels of vitamin E may be better predictors of future stroke than total cholesterollevels,” says Joseph Pizzorno Jr., N.D. Vitamin E speeds the breakdown of “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol while simultaneously increasing levels of “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.

Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that appears to reduce the likelihood of the internal blood clots that trigger ischemic stroke. Unfortunately, the vitamin may increase your risk of hemorrhagic stroke. If you’re thinking about taking supplements, check with your doctor first.


To stop strokes, sweat. Chances are, you know that exercise helps prevent heart attack. But you may not realize the value of exercise for stroke prevention. Much research shows that physical activity helps prevent ischemic stroke. In one study, for instance, researchers found that people who engaged in moderate to high levels of exercise had less than half the stroke risk of people who engaged in low levels of exercise. Beneficial physical activities include walking, gardening, dancing, bowling-just about anything that gets your body moving.

Relaxarion Therapies

Manage your anger. According to research by Susan A. Everson, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan School of Public Health in Ann Arbor, angry outbursts double your stroke risk. She recommends identifying your anger triggers and working to stay calm so that you don’t lose your temper and send your blood pressure soaring. She suggests deep breathing, counting to 10, and walking away from potentially anger-provoking situations.

Music Therapy

Strike up the band. Many stroke survivors become depressed, which makes them less willing to work at rehabilitation. Music improves stroke rehabilitation because it has an antidepressant effect.

At Woodend Hospital in Aberdeen, Scotland, music therapist Heather Purdie divided 40 stroke survivors into two groups. One group received standard care, while the other received 40 minutes of music therapy a day. After 12 weeks, the people in the music-therapy group were less depressed, less anxious, and more motivated to participate in rehabilitation.

Social Support

Recruit a team of cheerleaders. Duke University researchers studied 46 people who had been hospitalized for strokes. Eight had little emotional support, 24 had a moderate amount, and 14 had a great deal. The researchers correlated the stroke survivors’ social support with their recovery after 6 months. Those with the most support recovered much more quickly and fully.

Count on your spouse. Close relationships also help reduce risk of stroke. In a risk-factor-reduction program at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in London, Stephen D. M. Pyke, M.D., worked with both individuals and couples. The people who participated as couples were significantly more successful at reducing their blood pressures and cholesterol levels and at quitting smoking.

Herbal Medicine

Boost blood flow with ginkgo. European physicians often prescribe an extract of ginkgo leaves for stroke survivors because of studies showing that it improves blood flow through the brain. “I consider ginkgo preventive for stroke;’ says Alan P. Brauer, M.D. “In addition to its effectiveness, it’s nontoxic.” He recommends 100 to 200 milligrams a day. If you are regularly taking any type of blood­thinning medication, including aspirin, seek medical advice before taking ginkgo.

Prevent clots with garlic. Garlic helps prevent ischemic stroke in three ways: It reduces blood pressure, it lowers cholesterol levels, and it’s an anticoagulant. “If I were at risk for ischemic stroke, I’d increase my use of garlic in cooking;” says James A. Duke, Ph.D. “I’d also take garlic capsules.” Onions, scallions, leeks, chives, and shallots have similar benefits.

Home Remedies

Know your numbers. Because high blood pressure and high cholesterol greatly increase stroke risk, the National Stroke Association recommends having both checked at least once a year. Lowering your blood pressure to normal reduces your stroke risk about 40 percent, according to Roger E. Kelley, M.D., chairperson of neurology at Louisiana State University School of Medicine in Shreveport.

In addition, cutting your cholesterol by 25 percent lowers your stroke risk by 29 percent, according to an analysis of 16 studies by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “If you bring your blood pressure and cholesterol to recommended levels, you greatly reduce your risk of stroke and heart disease;” Dr. Pizzorno says.

Get tested for atrial fibrlllation. This condition-which can be detected during a check-up-is treatable with medication. Atrial fibrillation increases your risk of the internal blood clots involved in stroke.

Join the nonsmokers. Researchers at the University of Birmingham in England compared 125 men and women who had just experienced first strokes with 198 similar people who hadn’t. The stroke victims were much more likely to smoke (and to be overweight and not exercise).

In the United States, every surgeon general since 1964 has urged Americans to quit smoking. Stroke is one of the many reasons.

Other Good Choices

Chinese Medicine

Let your Blood flow. Practitioners of Chinese medicine attribute stroke to a chronic weakness of qi that eventually blocks the flow of Blood through the brain. “Chinese medicine has equated stroke and heart attack for centuries;” says Efrem Korngold, O.M.D., L.Ac. “Western medicine has come to this view only recently.”

To treat stroke, Dr. Korngold prescribes herbs that open the blood vessels and promote the flow of Blood. These include hawthorn, frankincense, myrrh, santalum wood, aristolochia root, and borneol crystals.

Make an appointment with an acupuncturist. Both the United Nations World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health endorse acupuncture as a treatment for stroke-related disabilities. Successful acupunture studies with stroke patients have been conducted in Norway and Sweden, with promising results. If you’re interested in trying acupuncture, consult a professional acupuncturist.

Medical Measures

If your doctor recommends taking an anticoagulant to prevent stroke, ask whether you can try aspirin. Constance Johnson, M.D., professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, calls aspirin the best-choice anticoagulant. She prefers it over prescription drugs because it’s almost as effective, yet it is much cheaper and causes fewer side effects. Many studies have shown that taking regular low­dose aspirin helps prevent stroke.

Instead of aspirin, your doctor might prescribe other anticoagulants such as dipyridamole (persantine), ticlopidine (Ticlid), or warfarin (Coumadin).

If a doctor administers a clot-dissolving drug within 3 hours of an ischemic stroke, normal blood flow can often be restored, and the risk of death or permanent disability drops by about 30 percent. There are also brain-saving drugs that reduce the number of brain cells killed by the stroke and help minimize disability.

Red Flags

To benefit from clot-dissolving and brain­saving drugs, you have to be treated quickly-within a few hours. That’s why it’s so important to recognize the warning signs of stroke. Here’s what the American Heart Association says to watch out for.

  • Sudden weakness or numbness in the face or in an arm or leg on one side of the body
  • Sudden dimness or loss of vision, particularly in one eye
  • Sudden loss of the ability to speak, or slurring of words, or an inability to understand speech
  • Sudden severe headaches for no apparent reason
  • Unexplained dizziness, balance problems, or sudden falls

The more of these symptoms a person has, the greater the likelihood of a stroke or­if the symptoms appear only briefly-a TIA.

If you or someone you know exhibits any of these signs, don’t delay. Call your local emergency number or get the person to an emergency room as quickly as possible.

Relieve Your Dry Itchy Skin Using Natural Remedies


There are many reasons why skin can become itchy, and dry skin is a common culprit. Cold weather, low humidity, excessive bathing and use of strong soaps can all dry out your skin, leaving it itchy and uncomfortable.

Of course, certain skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis (eczema) can also cause intense skin itch, as can simply getting older. That’s because as we age, skin loses its capacity to produce and retain moisture.

If you suffer from dry, itchy skin, you know that the physical discomfort can be considerable. Scratching not only won’t help… it can further irritate skin, which can lead to an even more intense itch. Cracks in the dry skin caused by scratching also allow bacteria to penetrate the skin, leaving you vulnerable to infection. Luckily, there are steps you can take to break this Cycle” and help get your skin back under control.

Explanation of how dry itchy skin and eczema work

Dry skin is bad enough but when it develops into eczema it can become a torture difficult to bear. In order to handle the problem, it is best if a better understanding is reached as to what are causes of eczema and dry itchy skin.

The outer layer of skin is designed to protect the delicate cells of the deeper layers. This outer layer needs to stay moisturized to protect these deeper layers. In order to keep the moisture from leaving the outer layer of skin, natural oils are produced.

These oils also help keep irritants away from the deeper layers of skin. Regular washing with soap, or exposure to chemicals, can remove these natural oils. When the natural oil is stripped from the outer layer of skin the moisture quickly evaporates leaving dry itchy skin. The deeper layers are now left exposed to harsh damaging substances including detergents, solvents, cleaners, paint and thinners, gardening chemicals, dirt and grease, latex gloves and powder, etc. This makes matters worse and creates a dire need of itchy dry skin treatment

When we use conventional hand lotions and moisturizers, we send the message to the skin saying that it is adequately moisturized, when in fact, it is dehydrated of its natural moisture. The body responds by reducing its production of natural oils and moisture and this in turn makes the dry itchy skin problem worse. People have been known to complain that their skin is drier than before they started using conventional moisturizers for that very reason. Very often, severe cases of dry itchy skin left unresolved could result in eczema with the accompanying added discomfort of itchiness that is almost unbearable.

Here are some herbs that help

Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis) Oil

Evening primrose seed oil (EPO) is used primarily to relieve the itchiness associated with certain skin conditions, including eczema. Results of studies regarding EPO for eczema are mixed. Similar to GLA an omega-6 fatty acid that is derived from EPO, whether EPO relieves the symptoms of eczema may be very individual. Talk to your healthcare provider to decide if it is safe and worthwhile for you to try EPO for your eczema.

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) Known mainly for its relaxing effects to aid with anxiety and insomnia, some herbal specialists prescribe oral lavender for skin conditions like eczema. In one study of topical lavender, however, children with eczema who received massage with or without lavender oil applied to the skin both did well. In other words, the improvement in the rash was related to the massage – whether lavender oil was used or not seemed to make no difference. To the extent that eczema is worsened by stress, it is possible that lavender adds some benefit by helping you relax.


Herbs that have been used traditionally to treat eczema are listed below. A naturopathic doctor or other herbal specialist might recommend one or more of these remedies after evaluating you and your eczema.

German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) – may reduce inflammation and speed wound healing
Goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea) – applied topically for wound healing; has anti-inflammatory properties
Red clover (Trifolium pratense) – has anti-inflammatory properties and has been used as an ointment for this skin condition

Craniosacral Therapy

As powerful directors of the body’s actions, the head and spine contain our most important communications pathways. That is the founding belief of craniosacral therapy, a modern kind of bodywqrk that was derived from what used to be called cranial osteopathy.

Craniosacral therapy consists of gentle, non­invasive, hands-on massage that corrects imbalances in the fluid system that connects the brain and spinal cord. Unlike Swedish massage, which focuses on the muscles, or Rolf therapy, which focuses on the alignment, craniosacral therapy focuses on a membrane, or sac, that contains cerebrospinal and other important fluids of the nervous system.

The therapy, developed in the early 1970s by osteopath John Upledger, D.O., is based on belief in the disputed existence of the craniosacral system, which, like the respiratory system, cardiovascular system or nervous system, is believed to influence the development and performance of the body. Therapists say imbalance or restriction in the craniosacral system, sometimes dating back as far as birth, can potentially cause any number of sensory, motor or neurological disabilities.

The therapist uses a very gentle touch to detect restrictions and then subtle movements, often on the plates of the skull, to assist the hydraulic forces of the craniosacral system and encourage the body’s natural healing powers.

Applied by itself or in concert with other kinds of bodywork, craniosacral therapy can be used to help relieve whiplash, head and neck injuries, temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ), balance problems, effects of trauma and a host of other disorders. Today, a variety of health professionals perform craniosacral work, including osteopaths, chiropractors, acupuncturists and physical therapists.

The Whole Truth About Acne Home Remedies

A lot of people suffer from acne. Anyone with acne has one goal in mind: to get rid of it. The severity of the condition will vary between people, as will the effectiveness of certain treatments. You shouldn’t have to deal with the embarrassment of blemishes on your face. The prescription and over-the-counter medications vary in price and effectiveness toward your skin. But why not try a few acne home remedies first? You may find something that works for you from your very own bathroom or kitchen.

The main purpose of an acne medication is to unclog your pores and calm inflammation. Acne home remedies are usually not for extreme cases, but more aimed at the mild to occasional blemishes. Some acne home remedies sound a little silly, and are not tested or proven by a real dermatologist. Some home remedies may worsen your condition or not effect it at all. You should be aware of this possibility before you try any of these. Common acne home remedies include: salt water, toothpaste, egg whites, ice, apple cider vinegar, steam, or wheat germ.

Washing your face with warm, mild salt water dries up excess acne-inducing oils. The advantage to using this instead of a normal soap to wash your face is that it is less likely to aggravate the acne or your skin.

Applying a bit of toothpaste on a visible pimple before you go to sleep helps reduce swelling. It also keeps the area free of oils that could make the spot worse. Be sure to use an actual paste because a gel will not have the same effect. This is the most common of all the acne home remedies.

Dab egg whites on a pimple that is already on the surface. If you leave it on overnight, it is said to draw out the infection and speed up the healing process.

Holding a cube of ice on acne before bed should visibly decrease the inflammation and swelling. It may also reduce the chances of scarring after your skin has cleared up.

Placing a cotton ball into apple cider Vinegar and then applying it to your infected area will almost instantly reduce swelling. This works especially well for large inflamed spots.

You are always advised not to squeeze any pimples, however, blackheads will not go away on their own. Opening your pores using steam to can assist you when you are cleaning your face. Take a hot shower or put your head over the vapors of a boiling pot of water.

Wheat germ, which can be found in most stores, is one of the only acne home remedies taken internally. Taking wheat germ with one meal a day can clear your acne and leave your skin softer than it was before because it is rich in helpful vitamins.

The most commonly effective acne home remedies are found in most homes. The benefit of experimenting with these on your blemishes is that you don’t have to go out and buy anything. If it doesn’t work, you didn’t waste any money in the process. If it does help the condition of your acne, then you have a great, cheap solution to your problem.

Home remedies