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Nausea fever chills: Chills, Fever, Nausea Or Vomiting And Shaking Chills (Rigors)


14 Reasons You Have Chills

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Body chills may mean you have a fever but there are other causes.



Written by

Petrina Craine, MD.

Assistant Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine, Columbia University

Last updated July 19, 2023

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Written by

Petrina Craine, MD.

Assistant Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine, Columbia University

Last updated July 19, 2023

Chills quiz

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11 most common causes


Acute URI

Urinary Tract Infection


Strep Throat

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Viral Gastroenteritis


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Why are you having chills?

Chills can be uncomfortable. You may be wrapped in the heaviest down blanket, but still unable to get warm. You may feel cold and clammy, or you may be sweating with a fever and feeling overheated.

Chills, or shivering, can happen one time or they can be frequent. They can last a few seconds or as long as an hour. Sometimes chills can cause noticeable shaking movements; other times visible symptoms are minimal—you may just feel chilled to the bone.

Chills are your body’s attempt to raise your internal body temperature if you’re cold or sick. When your muscles involuntarily contract and relax, it generates heat. If you’re sick, chills can create more heat to help kill a virus or bacteria.

Chills can also be caused by menopause, low blood sugar levels, or when you’re experiencing profound emotions like shock, fear, or anxiety.

Extreme exertion—such as running a marathon—can also cause chills as your body tries to regulate temperature to avoid overheating.


1. Gastroenteritis (stomach flu)


  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Chills or fever

Gastroenteritis, or stomach flu, is inflammation of your gastrointestinal organs, like your stomach and intestines. It is usually caused by infection with a virus, such as the rotavirus or norovirus. Most people recover on their own in a few days without any specific medical treatment beyond caring for themselves at home.

It is very important to stay hydrated as the body can lose a lot of water and electrolytes from throwing up or diarrhea. If you think you’re dehydrated or cannot keep any foods or liquids down, talk to your doctor. Your doctor may recommend hospitalization for monitoring and IV fluids for rehydration.

Also, gastroenteritis can sometimes mimic other more serious conditions such as appendicitis, which often has symptoms like fever, nausea and vomiting, and belly pain. Call your doctor when in doubt about the cause of your symptoms.

2. Influenza (flu)


  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Congestion
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea (especially in young children)

The flu is an infection of the respiratory tract (your lungs, nose, and mouth) caused by the influenza virus. There are different types of flu viruses. The reason you need to get a flu shot every year is because the version it protects against changes.

Most people who get the flu recover in a few days. Sometimes, it develops into pneumonia, which can be life-threatening, especially for the elderly or people with compromised immune systems.

If you are at risk of severe flu symptoms, see your doctor right away or go to urgent care. They may prescribe an antiviral medication. It can reduce how many days you are sick and the risk of complications.

Treating the flu is about taking care of your symptoms. You can take over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids.

It’s important to see a doctor if symptoms don’t get better or your fever lasts for more than 3 to 5 days.

Pro Tip

Sometimes patients tell me that they feel “silly” about bringing up questions about their chills. We are always here to help patients and hear their concerns. You mentioning your chills could be a vital step in first alerting us that something may be wrong with your health. —Dr. Petrina Craine

3. Pneumonia


  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough (which may also produce mucus/phlegm)
  • Trouble breathing or increased breathing rate
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and diarrhea (especially in younger children)
  • Confusion (especially in the elderly)

Pneumonia is an infection in your lungs that is usually caused by viruses and bacteria. The infection irritates the air sacs, filling them with pus and other fluids. Colds, bronchitis, influenza, and other respiratory infections can become pneumonia as bacteria settles into your lungs.

Pneumonia can be life-threatening, especially to the elderly or people with compromised immune systems.

Pneumonia is often diagnosed with a chest x-ray. Pneumonia caused by bacteria can be treated with antibiotics and many people can continue taking the medication as they recover at home.

You may have to be admitted to the hospital if you have low oxygen levels, severe dehydration, or other complications.

4. COVID-19


  • Fever
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Cough or congestion, which may produce mucus
  • Runny nose
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Body aches
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Low oxygen levels on a pulse oximeter (oxygen measuring device)

COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus caused by a coronavirus, specifically the SARS-CoV-19. This virus infects the respiratory tract (including your nose, throat, sinuses, and lungs). Although it is a respiratory infection, it can also affect other organs including the brain, blood vessels, and the skin.

Symptoms are very similar to those seen in the flu and the common cold. Sometimes, cases of COVID-19 that begin with mild symptoms worsen and become life-threatening. COVID-19 is very contagious, even when people don’t have symptoms.

Rest and hydration can be important in treating symptoms and feeling better for people with mild cases of COVID-19. If you suspect COVID-19, monitor your symptoms and speak with your doctor about your condition.

They will give you additional at-home treatment plans. These may include over-the-counter medication, oxygen-monitoring devices, or prescription medication, like an inhaler. They can also advise you when to go to the hospital if your symptoms get worse.

5. Sinusitis


  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Congestion
  • Chills
  • Facial pain or pressure
  • Headache
  • Cough that may produce mucus
  • Foul-smelling breath or taste in mouth

The sinuses normally produce thin mucus to help trap foreign materials. When infected with viruses or bacteria, this fluid often increases and gets thicker—causing blockages. The infection affects the small air pockets in your forehead, nose, cheekbones, and in between your eyes. This is called sinusitis. Most sinus infections are caused by viruses, so antibiotics won’t help treat symptoms. If your symptoms last longer than 10 days or get worse after 5 to 7 days, you may have a bacterial infection. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. 

Over-the-counter decongestants (such as pseudoephedrine) should be used with care. Taking beyond 3 days may lead to an increased risk of the congestion coming back. It can sometimes be even worse than before. Watch your symptoms. Hydrate (liquids like water and tea) to help relieve pressure.

6. Strep throat


  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Painful swallowing
  • Tender lymph nodes
  • Swollen, red tonsils
  • Chills

Strep throat is a throat infection caused by a bacteria called group A Streptococcus. Strep throat is contagious and more common in children than adults. A main symptom is a very sore throat that can make eating, talking, or swallowing difficult. Sometimes, you get strep throat with a rash that looks like sandpaper—this rash is known as scarlet fever.

Strep throat is diagnosed with a test. It is treated with antibiotics. If not treated, strep can turn into a more serious illness such as rheumatic fever. Antibiotics may make you feel better within a few days, but you must take the antibiotics for the full amount prescribed.

Dr. Rx

Not all chills are necessarily negative. Some happen after deeply positive emotions, like after experiencing inspiring or moving music. This reaction is called “frisson.” —Dr. Craine

7. Urinary tract infection (UTI)


  • Painful urination
  • Increased urge or frequency of urination
  • Pain in pelvic or rectal area
  • Back pain
  • Fever and chills (more so for an upper UTI)
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Confusion (especially in elderly)

A urinary tract infection is an infection of your urinary tract that can affect the bladder, the urethra (the tube you urinate through), or the kidneys, which filter urine. This infection is commonly caused by bacteria but can also be caused by other germs like fungi. Pregnant women are prone to UTIs.

Most people who experience chills from a UTI have an upper urinary tract infection. This is a sign that your kidneys and ureters (inner tube that passes urine from the kidneys to the bladder) are infected.

A UTI is diagnosed with a urine sample and can be treated with antibiotics. If not treated, a UTI can become very serious and infect your kidneys (pyelonephritis) and your bloodstream.

8. Common cold


  • Runny nose
  • Cough and congestion
  • Low fever
  • Chills and body aches (usually mild)
  • Fatigue

A common cold is a viral infection of the respiratory tract (usually just your nose and mouth). Many types of viruses can cause it, but rhinoviruses are a common culprit.

Most people with the cold do not have severe symptoms and get better without complications. Over-the-counter medications, such as decongestants (such as pseudoepinephrine) and natural foods like honey (in ages 2 and older), may relieve symptoms like congestion, cough, and sore throat. Resting and staying hydrated can also help you feel better.

9. Medication side effect


  • Chills
  • Recently taking or changing medications

Recovering from anesthesia after a surgery can sometimes cause chills. This is from anesthetics affecting body temperature regulation, the cool temperature of operating rooms, and your body cooling down while under anesthesia.

Abruptly stopping certain medications or substances, such as benzodiazepines, alcohol (in a person who drinks large amounts of it daily), or opioids like heroin or oxycodone (in a person dependent on them) can cause chills.

Let your doctor know if you’re experiencing chills as a reaction to a new medication or if you’re withdrawing from a medication or substance.

10. Hypothyroidism


  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Dry, cool skin
  • Chills
  • Constipation
  • Leg and face swelling
  • Decreased appetite
  • Recently taking or changing medications

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which your thyroid is underactive. Thyroid hormones are involved in various body processes, a key one being metabolism. Low thyroid hormone levels increase your sensitivity to temperature changes and make you more likely to feel chilled.

Hypothyroidism can be caused by various conditions such as your immune system attacking your thyroid or a nutritional deficiency in iodine (an important mineral for thyroid hormone production).

Diagnosis is made with a blood test. Medications can be used to manage hypothyroidism.

11. Cancer


  • Fever that comes and goes
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Easily bruised skin
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Fatigue

Cancer can be associated with a persistent low-grade fever, as well as chills. This is especially true for certain blood cancers like leukemia, lymphoma, or myeloma.

See your doctor If a fever doesn’t break or you have a continual low-grade fever or a low-grade fever that seems to come and go. You may also notice other symptoms, such as unexplained weight loss, swollen lymph glands, or fatigue. Blood cancers may also cause symptoms that include easily bruised skin or bleeding gums.

Tests can be used to diagnose cancer. Treatment depends on the type of cancer and how far it has progressed. Treatment may include chemotherapy, radiation, and/or surgery.

12. Autoimmune disease


  • Fatigue
  • Swollen glands
  • Joint pain
  • Chills
  • Digestive issues
  • Skin or hair changes

Chills are often a symptom of various autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Of those suffering from an autoimmune disease, nearly 80% are women. The reasons for this are not entirely clear, but hormonal changes (e.g. with estrogen and progesterone) and variations in sex chromosomes are thought to contribute to the large amount of women over men with autoimmune disorders.

Autoimmune disorders can have a range of symptoms and can be complicated to diagnose. Often, diagnosis is made by ruling out other causes. Treatment can include symptom management, medication, and immunotherapy.

13. Menopause


  • Hot flashes
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Mood changes
  • Unexplained weight changes
  • Decreased libido
  • Headaches

Menopause is a period in a woman’s life in which her menstrual cycle ceases. It usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55. Women experience significant changes in hormones, which can affect their body’s temperature regulation. It typically can cause “hot flashes,” but it can also cause chills. Chills can occur after a woman is “cooling down” after a hot flash or in place of hot flashes, a phenomenon known as  “cold flashes.”

Your doctor may recommend blood tests to test hormone levels. Treatment can include symptom management with medications, including hormone-replacement therapy.

14. Anemia


  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Feeling cold or chills
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Palpitations (irregular, rapid, or particularly strong  heartbeat)
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath

Anemia occurs when your body doesn’t have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to your tissues. This affects nearly every process in the body, including temperature regulation. There are different causes of anemia, including problems with iron (e.g., losing blood from colon cancer or heavy menstrual cycles). Anemia is more common in women than men, and can be a particular problem for pregnant women due to increased nutritional needs during pregnancy.

A doctor may recommend iron supplements.

Pro Tip

Sometimes patients look for goosebumps—when the hair on your body sticks up on skin—when they feel chills. They are not the same. Goosebumps can happen with chills, like if you are outside in the cold or if you are having a strong emotional reaction. But they are not always present with chills, such as chills with fever. —Dr. Craine

Other possible causes

A number of conditions may also cause chills, though these are either rare or chills are not the defining symptom. These include extreme sunburn (rare), malaria, and tuberculosis.

When to call the doctor

  • Chills persist even when you don’t have a fever.
  • You have a cough, cold, or sore throat you can’t seem to shake.
  • You experience body aches even when you haven’t exercised or exerted yourself.
  • You have night sweats.
  • You have a low-grade fever that doesn’t resolve, or seems to come and go.
  • You notice hair or skin changes like your hair falling out.
  • You’ve had unexplained weight loss.
  • You experience fatigue regardless of how much you’ve slept.
  • You experience constipation or diarrhea despite dietary changes.

Should I go to the ER for chills?

You should go to the emergency department if you have any of these signs:

  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat that persists
  • Skin color changes such as turning red, white, or black
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Fever (usually 102°F and greater)
  • Confusion or hallucinations
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Seizures

Those with weakened immune systems (e.g., elderly adults, babies, people with cancer, people on medications that suppress the immune system, people with chronic conditions like diabetes, kidney failure, etc. ) should visit an emergency room as chills could be a sign of a severe infection brewing.


At-home care

  • Medications to help reduce fever  such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Advil, Motrin)
  • Drink lots of fluids
  • Warming up if you’ve been outside in cold temperatures

Other treatments you might have

  • Medical testing to help identify the cause of chills
  • IV hydration
  • Hospital monitoring
  • Medication review to ID any medications or interactions that may cause chills as a side effect
  • Prescription medication or additional treatments to treat the underlying cause of chills

Petrina Craine, MD.

Assistant Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine, Columbia University

Dr. Petrina Craine is an emergency medicine physician who hails from Memphis, TN. After graduating as valedictorian of her high school, she moved to Durham, NC to pursue a degree in Biology and a certificate in Global Health. After college, she returned to her birthplace to attend the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine. She successfully completed her medical degree a…

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Is it a Cold or Flu?

How do I know if I have the flu?

The CDC defines flu symptoms to include fever (temperature of 100.3 degrees F [38 degrees C] or greater, or signs of fever such as chills, sweats, flushing, skin feeling hot) with cough and/or sore throat. In addition, you may experience headache, body aches, fatigue, nasal congestion, vomiting and diarrhea. To help determine if you have a cold or flu, and for more advice, complete this brief, flu screening.

Cold or flu? What to do?

In general, unless you are experiencing difficulty breathing, chest pain, persistent vomiting, severe diarrhea or instability related to dehydration, persistent fever more than 3-4 days, or have a high-risk condition, you should stay home and use self-care measures.

High risk conditions include:

  • lung diseases like asthma, cystic fibrosis, chronic bronchitis or emphysema
  • heart disease
  • chronic kidney disease
  • metabolic diseases like diabetes
  • blood disorders like sickle cell or other severe anemia
  • a weakened immune system caused, for example, by cancer or cancer treatment, HIV/AIDS, organ transplant, or corticosteroid therapy
  • certain conditions such as nervous system or muscular disorders or seizure disorders that can cause breathing problems or increase the risk of inhaling oral secretions.
  • pregnancy

How to Care for Yourself

Medications used to treat the flu or a cold control symptoms. Antibiotics won’t work – they combat bacterial, not viral, infections. Viruses actually hide inside your own cells where antibiotics cannot affect them. Flu and cold care is aimed at symptom relief and immune system support. These include the following:

  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Do not smoke.
  • Drink plenty of fluids—up to 3-4 liters per day (to prevent dehydration from fever and to help loosen mucous or phlegm).
  • For fever, headache, body aches, or sore throat pain, take Tylenol (acetaminophen) Advil (ibuprofen), or Aleve (naproxen) every 4-6 hours.
  • For sore throat, gargle every 4 hours with warm, salty water (mix 1/2 teaspoon salt or baking soda in 8 oz. of warm water). Also, try using throat lozenges containing a numbing medication.
  • For hoarseness or laryngitis, talk as little as possible. Straining the voice can prolong or worsen laryngitis.
  • For heavy amounts of nasal discharge or a large amount of phlegm associated with cough, consider using a mucolytic, such as Mucinex (available over-the-counter).
  • For persistent runny nose or nasal congestion, antihistamines and decongestants may be used. Mild antihistamines such as Chlor-Trimeton are useful for runny nose, sneezing and watery eyes. Use a decongestant such as Sudafed (pseudophedrine) for nasal/sinus congestion or ear fullness. A combination antihistamine/decongestant such as Actifed or Dimetapp may be taken for multiple symptoms. But remember, antihistamines may make you drowsy (decongestants usually will not)!

When to Seek Medical Care

Flu and colds may lead to secondary bacterial infections or worsening of chronic conditions such as asthma for which prescription medication would be necessary. You should seek medical attention if you are not improving after 7-10 days or for any of the following symptoms:

  • Very sore throat that shows no signs of improving after 3 days, or that is accompanied by fever and without any other usual cold symptoms
  • Painful swelling of the lymph nodes or glands in the neck
  • Discolored mucus from nasal passages for more than 7-10 days
  • Pain or tenderness around the eyes
  • Ear pain (as opposed to a “full” feeling)
  • Cough with production of a large amount of discolored mucus
  • Painful breathing, wheezing or shortness of breath
  • Cough that persists more than 2-3 weeks
  • Severe headaches or facial pain not relieved with over-the-counter medication
  • Fever higher than 100. 4 degrees for more than 3-4 days

W​ho can I talk to if I need more advice?

​If you are ill and need additional advice please send a question to Ask-A-Nurse. After hours, you can reach an advice nurse by calling our main phone (858) 534-3300 and choosing the “Advice Nurse” option.

Chills at fever: causes, treatment, prevention

Chills is a subjective sensation. With it, the skin becomes covered with goosebumps, there is a feeling of severe freezing, muscle tremors appear, and there is a desire to wrap yourself in a warm blanket.

Often, against the background of chills, there is an increase in temperature, and as the new figure on the thermometer stabilizes, the chills pass. But what are its causes, why other unpleasant sensations can occur against the background of chills?

Causes of chills

Chills or a feeling of cold and trembling in the body, inability to warm up, “goosebumps” occur due to vasospasm and muscle contraction. The reason lies in the fact that viruses or bacteria, entering the body, release harmful substances (toxins). Under the influence of these substances, white blood cells (leukocytes) begin to secrete special substances – pyrogens, which activate the center in the brain responsible for body temperature. As a result, the patient’s temperature rises.

The duration of chills depends on the type of infection and the nature of the fever. The faster it rises, the shorter and stronger the chill. As the fever reaches its peak, the chills stop.

Chills can accompany not only influenza and SARS, but also bacterial infections, such as whooping cough, diphtheria, meningococcal or streptococcal infections.

Chills often occur against the background of fever, accompanying inflammatory processes of the lung tissue (viral and bacterial pneumonia), lesions of the urinary system (mainly pyelonephritis), purulent-inflammatory processes in the small pelvis (endometritis, adnexitis).

Chills are possible due to toxicosis, acute surgical pathologies (peritonitis, acute pancreatitis, appendicitis), severe poisoning, including mushrooms, medications, salts of heavy metals, etc.

Signs of chills

Chills occur due to a sharp spasm of capillaries – small peripheral vessels that carry blood to the skin and muscles. Chills usually accompany three key signs:

  • Feeling cold, chilly or freezing cold even in a warm room if the person is well dressed;
  • muscle trembling – it occurs as an attempt by the muscles to produce more energy to warm the body;
  • the appearance of the so-called goosebumps or goosebumps – a reflex contraction of the muscles that raise the hairs, due to which pimples appear on the skin – this is also an attempt to warm the body (our ancient ancestors fluffed their hair to reduce heat transfer).

Accompanying symptoms of chills

As a rule, chills do not occur on their own – other symptoms appear along with it. They can additionally indicate a particular diagnosis.


Cause: SARS, influenza, intestinal infections, inflammatory processes, intoxication.

Weakness, high temperature, chills indicate intoxication of the body, because viruses and bacteria release a large amount of toxins into the blood. Weakness also refers to general malaise, “aches” in the body, decreased performance, drowsiness, restlessness, and frequent mood swings. There may be irritability, tearfulness. With SARS, weakness, headache, chills, fever usually appear simultaneously.

What to do. Provide the patient with complete rest.


Cause #1: poisoning or intestinal infection.

Chills with fever, nausea, diarrhea may indicate signs of food poisoning or various intestinal infections. Sometimes the incubation period of intestinal infections can be up to 2 days, during which the patient may complain of weakness, loss of appetite, pallor of the skin.

What to do. If vomiting and diarrhea have already occurred several times within 1 day, it is important to prevent dehydration. To do this, doctors recommend drinking as much liquid as possible. It will make up for losses and remove harmful substances from the body.

Reason #2: diseases of the stomach and intestines

Nausea, vomiting, fever with chills can occur in diseases of the gastrointestinal tract (gastritis, pancreatitis, gastric or duodenal ulcer).

What to do. Call a doctor or an ambulance.


Causes: intoxication, acute surgical pathologies of the abdominal cavity, intestinal infections, poisoning, pathologies of internal organs. Often accompanied by loose stools, nausea, pallor, severe weakness, abdominal pain.

Chills with fever and vomiting most often occurs in case of food poisoning and intestinal infections (salmonellosis, dysentery, cholera, etc. ). Vomiting is possible with appendicitis, pancreatitis, intestinal obstruction.

What to do. If vomiting is infrequent, drink a tablespoon of water every 5 to 10 minutes. If vomiting is frequent or indomitable, you need to call an ambulance.


Causes: intoxication, acute surgical pathologies of the abdominal cavity, intestinal infections, poisoning, food intolerance, allergies.

Chills with diarrhoea, high fever, malaise, weakness – most common in poisoning and intestinal infections. Although other serious pathologies are possible. Often combined with nausea, bouts of vomiting, abdominal pain, headache, weakness, fainting. Dangerous loss of fluid and salts.

What to do. If loose stools are infrequent, there is no vomiting, you need to drink water every 5 to 10 minutes in a small sip. If diarrhea is frequent or uncontrollable, you need to call an ambulance.


Cause: SARS, influenza, intestinal infections, inflammation, intoxication.

Chills, fever and headache are the main symptoms of a cold or SARS, flu and many other infections. For a headache with a cold and SARS, the following features are characteristic:

  • pain covers the whole head, has a bursting or pressing character;
  • may be mild or moderate;
  • increases when the patient looks at a bright light and may be accompanied by lacrimation;
  • worries constantly and can appear at any time of the day.

Headache develops simultaneously with intoxication of the body during viral infections (influenza or SARS). If the headache is accompanied by a runny nose, the doctor may suspect sinusitis or otitis media.

What to do. Headache, unlike fever, is not a protective reaction of the body. Therefore, you do not need to endure discomfort and drink painkillers as soon as possible. They can be headache remedies or complex drugs that will ease the symptoms of influenza or SARS. These include paracetamol, Ibuprofen or Nurofen, Theraflu, Coldact, Coldrex and others.

Often, muscle pain is accompanied by general malaise, fever, chills, drowsiness, weakness. Due to trembling, the muscles contract, get tired, they lack oxygen due to the redistribution of blood in favor of the internal organs.

What to do. Observe bed rest, give the body a rest, take an antipyretic, sleep.

Abdominal pain

Causes: intoxication, acute surgical pathologies of the abdominal cavity, intestinal infections, poisoning, food intolerance, allergies.

Chills with abdominal pain, high fever, malaise, weakness – most common in poisoning and intestinal infections. Although other serious pathologies are possible. Often combined with nausea, bouts of vomiting, headache, weakness, fainting.

What to do. If the pain does not go away or gets worse for two hours, you need to call an ambulance.

Lower back pain

Causes: inflammation of the kidneys, pancreatitis, myositis, exacerbation of osteochondrosis, sciatica, sciatica.

The most common low back pain with fever and chills is typical of inflammation of the kidneys. Then there will be changes in the urine, nausea, lack of appetite.

What to do. If the pain persists, the temperature does not decrease, the condition worsens, call an ambulance.

Treatments for chills

They depend on what caused the chill and how severe it is.

What to do if you have a severe chill

  • Drink more. When chills with fever it is very important to drink more liquids, for example, tea, herbal decoction, compote, fruit drink. Fluid removes harmful substances from the body. Decoctions based on berries are very useful: currants, cranberries, viburnum, raspberries. They contain a large amount of vitamins and other useful substances that will help you recover faster. Coffee and alcoholic drinks, sweet carbonated water should not be drunk. They will only weaken an already exhausted body.
  • Ventilate the room. But this must be done during the absence of the patient. Fresh and moderately moist air will make breathing easier.
  • Stay in bed. It is necessary to postpone all physical and intellectual affairs and be sure to take sick leave. During rest, the body will direct all its forces to fight infection.

When and how to bring down the temperature

What temperature should be brought down, and what should be endured? Doctors recommend taking antipyretics only when the temperature rises above 38 ° C in children and above 38.5 ° C in adults. High temperature is a protective reaction of the body. It helps fight viruses and bacteria.

If you cannot do without an antipyretic in your case, it is recommended to take a tablet of paracetamol or another combination drug that contains it (Coldrex, Theraflu, Coldakt, Rinza, etc.).

If you have done everything you need to do and your temperature still does not go down and you are still not feeling well, you should see your doctor. The doctor will determine the cause of the chills and high temperature and make an accurate diagnosis. Only a specialist can prescribe treatment for severe prolonged chills and high temperature. If the temperature rises to 395 ° C and above, the patient has convulsions and loss of consciousness – urgently call an ambulance.

Drug name Composition Mode of application
Coldrex for hydrochloride, terpinhydrate, ascorbic acid Adults 2 tablets no more than 4 times a day, children (6 -12 years) 1 TB no more than 4 times a day
Theraflu paracetamol 325 mg, pheniramine maleate 20 mg, phenylephrine hydrochloride 10 mg, ascorbic acid 50 mg Repeat dose may be taken every 4 hours for up to 3 doses in 24 hours
Coldact Flu Plus chlorphenamine maleate 8 mg, paracetamol 200 mg, phenylephrine hydrochloride 25 mg Adult children and children over 12 years old, 1 capsule every 12 hours for 3-5 days
Rinza chlorphenamine maleate 2 mg, phenylephrine hydrochloride 10 mg, caffeine 30 mg, paracetamol 500 mg Adults and children over 15 years old, 1 tablet 3-4 times a day
Ibuklin ibuprofen 400 mg + paracetamol 325 mg 1 tablet 3 times a day

Why chills may not go away 900 35

Chills may not disappear with a further increase in temperature, with increased intoxication, ineffectiveness of therapeutic events. In addition, chills reappear if the temperature, after a decrease, begins to rise again.

Home Prevention of Chills

Chills with fever can be prevented by protecting yourself from hypothermia, strengthening the immune system, tempering and eating foods rich in vitamins and minerals. It is important to follow the rules of personal and general hygiene, wash hands before eating, monitor the shelf life of products.

Popular Questions and Answers

We talked with general practitioner Ekaterina Buchholz about the danger of chills, the reasons for calling a doctor and the possibility of treatment with folk remedies.

Why is chills dangerous?

The chill itself is not dangerous, but it indicates certain serious pathologies that need to be identified and eliminated in a timely manner.

At what temperature do chills appear?

Chills may occur at any temperature, but are usually typical of conditions in which the fever exceeds 38 – 39°C and rises sharply. But chills are possible without fever.

What should not be done when you have a chill?

In case of chills, inhalations, hot compresses or mustard plasters, hot baths will only harm. They will increase the temperature rise, and also contribute to the formation of serious complications of fever.

Do not wrap yourself up too much, cover yourself with several blankets – this creates the effect of a thermos, preventing heat from being released into the environment. Overheating of the body is possible, while the skin may remain cold, as the vessels are spasmodic.

Do not bring down the temperature with a cold shower, wiping with alcohol or vinegar. This will only exacerbate the rise in temperature.

How to quickly get rid of chills?

It is important to drink a lot, do not wrap yourself up, take an antipyretic and go to bed and rest.

When to call a doctor for chills?

If the chill does not stop within a few hours and the temperature is very high, a doctor should be called. Only a specialist will determine what to do.

Is it possible to get rid of chills with folk remedies?

With the exception of heavy drinking, including decoctions of diaphoretic herbs (lime blossom, chamomile decoction), it is not worth using various folk methods to reduce the temperature.

Chills without fever: causes and treatment

. Not only a reaction to cold, but also a sign of serious disorders in the body

Doctor Fedor Mikhnevich called stress, diabetes and endocrine disorders the causes of chills without fever

Updated March 23, 2023, 17:29

Shutterstock relax to generate heat. This means that it is based on a violation of thermoregulation. The most obvious cause of chills is hypothermia. But in reality, the “internal thermometer” can fail for many other reasons. Doctors were asked what chills are, when they occur without fever, and whether this condition can be treated.


  1. What is it
  2. Symptoms
  3. Causes
  4. Treatment

What is chills


Chill is a feeling of coldness in the body, which may be accompanied by trembling and goosebumps. Physiologically, it is associated with a spasm of superficial blood vessels in response to a sharp decrease in body temperature [1]. Chills usually occur when a person is cold, but sometimes it is the result of the immune system fighting off an infection. Chills are not considered a separate disease. This is a symptom characteristic of many conditions: from hypothermia and SARS to systemic disorders in the body and oncology.

Depending on what provoked chills, the following types are distinguished [2]:

  • febrile – occurs with fever during viral infections;
  • cold – felt when hypothermia;
  • malignant – in the presence of cancer;
  • medicinal – associated with taking medications;
  • hormonal – provoked by endocrine disorders or other changes in the hormonal background;
  • psychogenic – appears as a result of severe stress, anxiety and other emotional disorders.

The frequency of chills also varies. It may appear once or disturb the patient regularly. In the latter case, if a feeling of cold occurs without obvious causes and temperature, you should tell your doctor about the problem.

Oksana Dikurk.m.s., internist, cardiologist, arrhythmologist at the Rassvet clinic

“A group of nerve cells that regulate, among other things, the processes of thermoregulation, is located in the hypothalamus. They have a so-called “setting point” – the level of body temperature that is most suitable for metabolic processes. Normally, it corresponds to approximately 37.5 ° C. At the same body temperature, we feel comfortable (we are talking about the true body temperature, measured rectally. – RBC Life).

A number of external and internal factors can raise the “set point”. They are called pyrogens, the reaction to their action is fever. At the same time, our body begins to perceive normal body temperature as too low and turns on the mechanisms of additional thermal formation – a feeling of cold and shivering, signaling that we need to warm up.

Chill symptoms


The main symptom of chills is a feeling of coldness in the body and a desire to warm up. But sometimes a person experiences other sensations along with chills. This is:

  • fever;
  • fatigue, muscle pain;
  • dizziness, nausea;
  • trembling and goosebumps.

Fedor MikhnevichFamily doctor, therapist GMS Clinic

“Most often, chills are a normal response of a healthy body to cooling. At the same time, heat transfer decreases and heat production increases as a result of muscle contraction. Chills may accompany muscle tremors and spasm of the skin muscles. In fever, the appearance of chills is associated with the release of cytokines and prostaglandins into the blood during the development of an inflammatory reaction of any kind and with their effect on the thermoregulatory center (hypothalamus).

Causes of chills without fever


Chills without fever may be due to mild hypothermia, stress, or the onset of menopause. In general, these are fairly harmless and controllable conditions. If the chills persist and other symptoms worsen over time, it may be a more serious disorder, such as cancer or diabetes. Here are the most common causes of chills without fever.

1. Subcooling

The body involuntarily reacts to exposure to cold with chills. The accompanying shivering is a natural mechanism that warms the body. Therefore, a long stay in the cold, wet clothes or strong winds can cause chills. In this case, the problem is solved simply: it is enough to move to a warm place and, if possible, change clothes. If the internal temperature drops too much, a life-threatening condition called hypothermia can develop. Sometimes its consequences are irreversible. Therefore, it is important to monitor how the body behaves in the cold.

2. Endocrine disorders

With a decrease in the activity of the thyroid gland, or hypothyroidism, the production of hormones that are involved in thermoregulation decreases, explains therapist Mikhnevich. As a result, a person tolerates cold worse and feels chills. At the same time, rapid fatigue, forgetfulness, dry skin and other symptoms can be observed [3]. The only sure way to know for sure whether there is hypothyroidism or not is to take a blood test as recommended by an endocrinologist.

3. Diabetes mellitus

People who are sensitive to fluctuations in blood glucose levels may also experience chills without fever. A condition characterized by a low concentration of glucose in the blood is called hypoglycemia. It may promote the release of epinephrine and norepinephrine in an attempt by cells to regain energy when blood sugar levels drop. These hormones cause chills or shivering, as well as sweating, confusion, and restlessness. Research confirms that people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes may equally experience difficulty regulating body temperature [4].

4. Stress and anxiety

Fear, chronic stress or panic attacks can cause involuntary chills. “The hormones adrenaline, norepinephrine and cortisol released during stress cause constriction of superficial blood vessels, a feeling of cold and chills,” explains Dr. Fedor Mikhnevich. Research also shows that anxiety and stress can trigger a fever even if there is no underlying illness or infection. This is a psychogenic fever, it is also characterized by a feeling of chills [5].

5. Women’s hormonal cycles

Menstruation, ovulation and menopause are also causes of chills in women. In the first case, heavy blood loss on the first day of the cycle provokes anemia, one of the symptoms of which is chills. In the second, we are talking about an increase in the level of the hormone progesterone, which increases the internal temperature of the body. This mild increase can make women more sensitive to cold, causing chills. As for menopause, changes in the hormonal profile against the background of a decrease in the production of sex hormones cause hot flashes and colds, as well as chills, especially at night, the therapist adds.

6. Extreme physical activity

When you exercise, your body temperature rises and it releases sweat to prevent overheating. After a long run or other strenuous exercise, the body temperature drops. Moisture on the surface of the skin from a draft or chilly outdoors can cause chills, but not fever.

7. Low body weight

People with low body weight tend to have less adipose tissue. This can make them more susceptible to temperature fluctuations, leading to chills. Particularly in anorexia, as the body becomes more emaciated, so does the metabolism. This leads to slow heart rate and low blood pressure, which can make patients feel tired and cold, especially in the arms and legs [6].

8. Iron deficiency

Anemia – a decrease in hemoglobin levels and iron deficiency – also gives a feeling of chills, says Dr. Fedor Mikhnevich. This happens because the body does not have enough iron to produce hemoglobin, the blood component that carries oxygen to cells. Impaired oxygen transport leads to a decrease in body temperature, causing chills [7].

9. Oncological diseases

Chills without fever may indicate the presence of cancer, including leukemia. If you experience concomitant symptoms, including swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, loss of appetite and weight, night sweats, abdominal pain and recurring infections, you should immediately consult a doctor. In addition, chills are a common symptom of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy [8].

10. Taking medication

Some medicines cause chills as a side effect, but sometimes this is the result of an overdose. According to the therapist Mikhnevich, these drugs include antipsychotics. Therefore, before taking any medication, you should read the instructions.

Treatment of chills without fever


Chills are a symptom, so treatment depends a lot on the cause. If it arose against the background of SARS, then taking antipyretics and general therapy will help get rid of the unpleasant sensation.