Neal’s Yard promotes homeopathy for measles. This could kill real children

UPDATE: Neal’s Yard have updated their post to say that “if you suspect your child has measles you should see a GP for advice and treatment”. Well done to them for saying it prominently.

For the record, in case I hadn’t made this clear earlier today: measles kills. Not as often as smallpox used to, not as often as TB, but it kills: perhaps one child in every 1,000 who gets it will suffer severe complications, including blindness, deafness and brain damage, and possibly death. It’s not upgraded chicken pox.

Which makes it all the more baffling that Neal’s Yard, the hippyish “natural” medicine shop, have chosen today – with dozens of children still, I believe, in hospital in Swansea, as an outbreak rages there – to publish a piece titled “Treating measles symptoms naturally”. It offers, and I can’t believe I’m writing this, “A homoeopathic response”:

Ann Sorrell has written a booklet Homeopathy for Measles. Its premise is the safe empowerment of the individual to prescribe for measles and improve a child’s overall health. Natural, non-toxic homoeopathic remedies have no side-effects and cannot weaken your child’s immune system.

No, it can’t, because it is water.

What it can do, though, if you use it instead of actual vaccination, is leave your child fatally exposed to a virus that could easily kill him or her. What’s more, you could reduce the overall level of immunity in your area, and expose other children, who may have been vaccinated but unsuccessfully, or who could not be vaccinated because their immune system was compromised, perhaps by cancer, to a potentially fatal disease.

They include this paragraph:

Complementary treatment of measles symptoms can be used alongside any treatment that your doctor may recommend. In her book Ann recommends – and we would agree – taking your child to a medical professional to confirm the diagnosis of measles but in the meantime, you can prescribe a homoeopathic remedy immediately before taking a child to the medical doctor or practitioner to notify them of the infection: this will mean the child’s immune system will already be engaged in healing itself.

This makes some effort to suggest that homeopathy could be used alongside, rather than in lieu of, vaccination: but it is a very weak effort, only recommending that the child be taken for “diagnosis”, and at no stage actually recommending the use of vaccines.

This is irresponsible. Measles can kill. This hippy idiocy could, actually, kill children.

(Hat-tip Andy Lewis for the spot.)

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