Blessed by Fever

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By: Wiep de Vries, R.N.

In the young child there is a tre­mendous transformative force to­ward individualization. Common childhood diseases can be revela­tions or gestures of an accelerated renewal in the organism and the ill­nesses may often be accompanied by a warmth reaction such as fever.

Regrettably, a deep fear is some­times felt in regard to fever. This fear may lead to a neglect of the child's underlying developmental process, in favor of a narrow medical regi­men. We need to try to learn ways of supporting a child with fever so that the warmth processes are guided, allowing the caring and nurturing di­mensions to be attuned to the child's individual needs.

It may take a lot of courage for parents or care givers to let a fever run its course, to become educated in natural ways of addressing an ill­ness and above all, to learn about the developmental and transforming benefits that are hidden in the pro­cess.

Unfortunately, I often see cases where children cannot produce a good fever to help overcome the dis­ease. Last month I visited the mother of a five year old boy with asthma who had suffered from chronic bron­chitis that developed into pneumo­nia. But he had no fever—an alarm­ing situation that required a long con­valescence. His mother began to use homeopathic remedies for his asthma and attended to the warmth through clothing, baths and massage, watch­ing for the rhythm between his ac­tivity and rest. Since then, his con­dition has much improved.

At the home health care work­shops I conduct, mothers share sto­ries about their children's recurring ear infections, chronic coughs, aller­gies and congestion. I find myself trying to bring them the message of caring for their child's warmth orga­nization and the rhythm of the day. I feel that care for the warmth organi­zation of the child is the immediate task of parents and care givers be­cause the re-directing and reorganiz­ing forces of our higher self are hid­den in the warmth of the blood.

Conventional medicine is slowly opening up to the positive aspects of fever, but I believe that real change begins in the home, where fever can become a "spirit friend" that needs loving and caring attention.

Books to help parents address childhood illnesses

Caring for the Sick at Home, T. van Bentheim, S. Bos, W. Visser, E. de la Houssaye, Anthroposophical Press.

A Guide to Child Health, Wolfgang Goebel & Michaels Glockler, Anthroposophical Press. *

What Every Parent Should Know About Childhood Immunization, J. Murphy, Earth Healing Products.


Most childhood illnesses come with a fever. Here are some "fever facts":
The temperature of a child can change rapidly, and has a wider range than an adult,
Normal range of temperature can go from 96.6F - 99.4F, it increases during meals and activities.
Fever is a reaction to the release of pyrogens, and is therefore an expression of an increased state of defense (more leukocytes to destroy bacteria, viruses).
Higher temperature stimulates the body to help elimination and excretion.
Convulsions happen only when the tem­perature rises too quickly.
Temperature can be decreased through a sponge bath with tepid water. Important to know is that evaporation and not the temperature of the water brings the fever down!
If fever persists for more than three days, or if it rises unduly, consult a physician.

Wiep de Vries is a registered nurse who has worked in a Dutch anthroposophical hospital. She offers home health care workshops and is a contact person for patients in the Los Angeles area seeking anthroposophical health care.

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