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What are Chills?

What are Chills?

Chills are a feeling of coldness that may or may not is associated with exposure to a cold environment. Shivering and paleness often accompanies them. They occur when the body rapidly contracts and relaxes the muscles as a way of generating heat. When they occur without exposure to a cold environment, they serve as symptoms for many common symptoms and conditions. Most commonly, chills are associated with fevers that can be brought on by many causes.


The body responds to numerous conditions by becoming feverish. A fever normally serves as a sign of infection or inflammation somewhere within the body. Chills often accompany a fever because they are a means of raising the body temperature. Increasing one's core temperature makes it possible for the body to fight off infections or prevent them from spreading because most common pathogens survive best at normal human body temperature. Fevers and chills are commonly brought on by minor ailments like colds. They are most common in children because they tend to develop fevers with even minor illnesses.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Cases of the chills and fever may also be brought on by more severe conditions like meningitis or malaria. Influenza is another common cause of chills that, in some patients, can be serious. Inflammatory and autoimmune disorders may also cause chills. In rare cases, chills may even be signs of life-threatening conditions like cancer, hypothermia, or a serious infection. High fevers or those that persist for more than two days should always be evaluated by a medical professional. Besides, when chills and fever are accompanied by difficulty breathing, lethargy, or confusion, emergency medical attention is required.

Medical Testing

When trying to determine the underlying cause of chills, doctors typically ask questions regarding how long they have been present, whether the patient has been exposed to cold, or if there has been a fever. Any other symptoms the patient may be experiencing will also be recorded. A physical examination is typically performed to look for signs of common infectious diseases. If the doctor suspects a severe underlying condition, additional testing may be required.

Treatment Options

Minor cases of the chills can be treated at home by taking cold baths to gradually lower body temperature. Anti-inflammatory medications may also help. Doctors may prescribe antibiotics or other medications to treat high fevers and severe chills. Underlying causes may require additional treatment depending upon the type and severity.