Find a Doctor:   

By Medicover Hospitals / 1 Feb 2021
Home | symptoms | chills
  • A feeling of being cold, but not necessarily in a cold environment, often accompanied by chills or tremors. The chills or tremors may have causes that are not due to an underlying disease. Examples include exposure to cold, fear, or nervousness.
  • Article Context:

    1. What are chills?
    2. Causes
    3. Diagnosis
    4. Treatment
    5. When to visit a Doctor?
    6. Home remedies
    7. FAQ's

    What are chills?

  • Chills are sensations of cold accompanied by chills. They can occur with or without fever. Without fever, chills usually occur after exposure to a cold environment. Essentially, any condition that can produce fever can lead to chills accompanied by fever. For influenza infection, fever and chills are common symptoms. Chills are caused by exposure to the cold weather. Prolonged or constant exposure to cold can result in serious injury from hypothermia. Chills during pregnancy are due to the same causes as chills in general.
  • Causes:

  • Many different factors can cause chills. Cold outside temperatures may be the most common, but a temperature that causes one person to shiver can be quite comfortable for someone else.
  • In addition to cold temperatures, some other causes of chills can include:
    • Infections: If body aches and fever accompany chills, this may indicate the body is fighting a viral or bacterial infection. Common infections include colds, the flu, and urinary tract infections.
    • Low blood sugar: Low blood sugar can also cause chills, which can be dangerous for people with diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), low blood sugar can cause mild symptoms, such as chills and tremors, as well as more serious symptoms, such as vision problems and seizures.
    • Emotional reactions: Some people may experience chills when they experience strong emotions, such as joy or grief. These feelings can come from real-life events or music or art.
    • Malaria: Although it is rare in the United States, people traveling to more tropical areas where this mosquito-borne infection is more common should contact a doctor if sweating, fever, nausea, and muscle aches accompany their chills.
    • Inflammatory diseases: Chills and fever are caused by some Inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
    • Medicines: Some medicines can also cause chills or fever. One study found that 15% of people who had a bad reaction to drugs had chills.
    • Leukemia: Chills, fever, abdominal pain, and fatigue can all be symptoms of blood cancers such as leukemia.
  • For adults, a fever is defined as a temperature of 38 ° C (100.4 ° F).
  • Diagnosis:

  • If a person experiences persistent chills, a doctor can help diagnose the underlying cause. To do so, they can:
    • check a person's vital signs by taking blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and temperature readings
    • take a complete medical history, covering pre-existing conditions, travel, medications, and other medical treatment
    • ask about other symptoms, such as a cough, digestive problems, rashes, or other concerns
    • perform a physical exam covering key areas such as the eyes, ears, nose, throat, neck, and abdomen
  • Doctors may perform additional tests, such as chest x-rays, blood tests, and urine cultures if they suspect a particular underlying condition.
  • The only way to be sure if someone has COVID-19 is by testing. However, the CDC currently does not recommend that everyone gets tested because these tests are limited. His focus is on healthcare workers and people who are very sick.
  • To find out if tests are available, a person can contact their local or state health department.
  • Treatment:

    • Chills are a symptom, not a disease, so treatment for chills largely depends on its cause.
    • If chills occur from a mild infection, home treatment with bed rest, plenty of fluids, and over-the-counter pain relievers can provide relief.
    • If the chills are bothersome, it's best to layer up and stay warm.
    • People with diabetes should discuss the risk and possible symptoms of low blood sugar with their healthcare provider and should make plans to manage these problems if they occur.
    • The chills caused by other underlying medical conditions should dissipate when a person receives treatment for this condition.

    When to visit a Doctor?

  • Call your doctor if your fever and chills do not improve after 48 hours of home care, or if you have any of the following symptoms:
    • torticollis
    • wheezing
    • severe cough
    • shortness of breath
    • confusion
    • slowness
    • irritability
    • abdominal pain
    • painful urination
    • violent vomiting
    • frequent urination or lack of urination
    • unusual sensitivity to bright light
  • Call a pediatrician if any of the following signs appear in your child:
    • Fever in a child under 3 months
    • fever in a child aged 3 to 6 months and the child is lethargic or irritable
    • a fever in a child aged 6 to 24 months that lasts more than a day
    • fever in a child aged 24 months to 17 years that lasts over three days and does not respond to treatment

    Home Remedies:

    Home care for adults:

    • Treatment is usually based on whether the chills are gone along with a fever. If your fever is mild and you don't have other serious symptoms, you don't need to see a doctor. Get more rest and drink plenty of water or juices. A mild fever is 38.6 ° C or less.
    • Cover yourself with a light blanket and avoid a heavy blanket or clothing, which might raise your body temperature. Sponging your body with warm water or taking a cold shower can help reduce fever. However, cold water can cause an episode of chills.
    • Over-the-counter (OTC) medications can reduce fever and fight chills, such as:
      • aspirin (Bayer)
      • acetaminophen (Tylenol)
      • ibuprofen (Advil)
    • As with any medication, follow the directions carefully and take them as directed. Aspirin and ibuprofen will lower fever and reduce inflammation. Acetaminophen will reduce fever, but it will not reduce inflammation. Acetaminophen can be toxic to the liver if not taken as directed, and long-term use of ibuprofen can cause kidney and stomach damage.

    Home care for children:

    • Treatment of a child with chills and fever depends on age, temperature, and any accompanying symptoms. In general, if your child's fever is between 100ºF and 102ºF and he feels uncomfortable, you can give him acetaminophen in tablets or liquid form. Follow the dosage instructions given on the package.
    • Never wrap children with a fever in thick blankets or layers of clothing. Dress them in light clothing and give them water or other fluids to keep them hydrated.
    • Never give aspirin to children under the age of 18 due to the risk of Reye's syndrome. Reye's syndrome is a rare but serious disorder that can develop in children who receive aspirin while fighting a viral infection.

    Frequently Asked Questions:

  • If you have a viral infection, you will usually notice other symptoms along with chills, such as a sore throat, cough, headache, fatigue, and muscle aches. Most of the time, it can be self-limiting and will resolve in 2 weeks. It is important to get enough rest and increase your fluid intake.
  • You get chills when the muscles in your body contract and relax to try to generate heat. Sometimes this happens because you are cold, but it can also be an attempt by your immune system, the body's defense against germs, to fight infection or illness.
  • Body chills are commonly caused by cold outside temperatures or changing internal temperatures, such as when you have a fever. When you have chills without a fever, causes may involve low blood sugar, anxiety or fear, or heavy physical exercise.
  • Chills can be a sign of a serious or life-threatening infection or hypothermia. Seek immediate medical attention or speak to a medical professional about your symptoms if they persist for more than two days or if they concern you. Fever in babies and very young children can quickly become severe.
  • Anxiety can also cause hot flashes and chills. Panic attacks can cause you to experience chills and hot flashes similar to what you might experience if you have a fever. But it's not just when you're in the middle of a panic attack.
  • Citations: