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What Is Your Body Telling You When You Get the Chills?

Last updated: Dec 18, 2022 Post in Internal Medicine in Brooklyn, Primary Care Physician in Brooklyn by Century Medical & Dental Clinic.

Whether your chills result from fever or some underlying health condition, it is best to seek medical help and consult a primary care doctor to know if it is something serious or a general reaction to elements. At times, chills are your body’s way of alerting you to some infection or systematic illness that needs treatment. Do not ignore these chills and consult an internal medicine doctor at the Century Medical and Dental Center to determine why you are getting them. The experienced and board-certified physicians in NY take note of your symptoms and use the most advanced diagnostic tools to specify your condition and recommend the best treatment to help you feel better.

Sometimes you may get cold chills from being exposed to low or cold temperature, viruses, or infections like cold and flu. Shivering is also a sign that your body is fighting off an illness or other health problem.

What Are Chills?

Chills are the body’s way of raising or regulating its core temperature. When you shiver, the muscles relax and contract. The involuntary movement warms your body. Chills and fever often go together, but not everyone with a fever gets chills. You can also get chills with no fever.

When you have chills, you may experience the following:

  • Shivering or trembling
  • Shaking
  • Chattering teeth or jaw rattling
  • Goosebumps or tiny rashes like bumps on the skin also known as gooseflesh or goose pimples

These are involuntary body responses. It means you cannot consciously control them. Shivering causes your muscles to contract and relax, which warms up the body.
What is your body telling you when you get the chills

What Causes Chills – Why Do You Get Them?

Chills mainly occur when your body’s inner temperature drops. For most people, the average core temperature is around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, which is about 37 degrees Celsius. For some people, the normal temperature hovers between 97 F and 99 F.

The body temperature continues to vary naturally, but low temperatures can be dangerous and even life-threatening. Exposure to extreme cold can lead to hypothermia, a very low body temperature, which drops around 95 F or 35 C.

Chills are not dangerous, but a high fever accompanied by chills could be a serious matter. Seek immediate medical care if your temperature reaches 103 degrees F or higher or if your fever does not respond to fever-reducing medications. It could be a sign of some illness that needs proper diagnosis.

Health Conditions That Cause Chills

These health conditions can also make you shiver:

  • Bacterial infections like listeria, pneumonia, and urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Cancers, such as leukemia
  • Drug withdrawal (substance abuse)
  • Hangover or alcohol abuse
  • Menopausal night sweats or hot flashes
  • Panic attacks
  • Parasite infections like giardiasis
  • Sepsis
  • Viruses, including those that cause the flu

Chills Without Fever

Chills are not always accompanied by a fever. The most common causes of quivers with no fever or apparent causes include:

  • Anemia – it is a common blood disorder
  • Anxiety – anxiety is a recognized mental illness that can result in chills due to no apparent reasons
  • Hypoglycemia – it means your blood sugar level is low
  • Hypothyroidism – when the thyroid gland is not active enough, it can cause chills
  • Prescription drugs – sometimes chills can be a side effect of a prescription medicine
  • Psychological trauma – including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Hyperactivity – reaction to extreme physical activity can bring on changes to core body temperature
  • Malnutrition – lack of nutrients in the body can also result in chills
  • Emotional reaction – profound or intense emotional reaction to a situation can cause chills

How to Get Rid of Chills?

Checking your temperature and monitoring it is essential for understanding what may be causing chills and how to manage them.

Some at-home remedies to get rid of chills include:

  • Keeping light clothing and blankets to prevent overheating
  • Avoiding cooling yourself if the chills are resulting from fever, or it may raise your fever to compensate, causing even more damage
  • Resting if you are not feeling well
  • Drinking plenty of fluids to keep yourself hydrated
  • Taking some over the counter medicine such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen
  • Drinking hot chocolate, coffee, or tea to raise your internal body temperature
  • Seeking treatment for the condition that is causing the chills

How Are Chills Treated?

If an illness, disease, or any other health problem is causing the chills, treating the condition may get rid of these symptoms.

Medications for treating chills depend on the underlying causes of your condition. They may include:

  • Antibiotics for bacterial and parasitic infections
  • Antiviral medications for viral infections
  • Over-the-counter medicine, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen for conditions like flu that cause fevers and chills

When to Seek Medical Help for Chills

For most people, chills are a minor nuisance that only lasts for a short time or a few days. However, if your chills are becoming frequent or intense, causing dehydration or other unusual signs and symptoms, you should seek immediate professional care.

The following conditions require prompt medical attention:

  • Chest pain or unexplained pain
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing

The doctor will perform some blood tests, take your medical history, and may even conduct a physical exam to determine the exact causes behind your unexplained chills. Also, if you have diabetes and hypoglycemia symptoms that do not improve with at-home treatment, visit your healthcare provider.

Even though they may produce the uncomfortable sensation of shivering and goosebumps, chills are not always associated with fever or a sign of something serious. Chills without fever can be cured with at-home remedies or modifications of behaviors, but if they do not go away or you regularly experience unexplained chills, it may be a matter of concern. Do not let these unpleasant sensations affect your health or routine life. Schedule an appointment with the expert internal medicine doctors at the Century Medical and Dental Center to find the best solution for untimely shivering. The top physicians determine the causes of your condition and suggest the best ways to help you seek relief without facing any more unpleasant shivers.

SHARE THIS POST Page Updated on Dec 18, 2022 by Dr. Dvorkina (Primary Care Doctor) of Century Medical & Dental Center
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