Chills – common symptoms, causes and treatments


What are chills?

Chills are a state where a person feels excessively cold despite wearing warm clothes or wrapped blankets. A person may experience terrible shivering during chills. Chills usually occur with fever causing shakiness in the body. You may experience chills when your body exceeds the normal body temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Chills are caused by indefinite body responses, causing a sudden contraction and relaxation in the muscle. Chills can also be caused by virulent conditions like malaria, influenza or Dengue. Naturally, children are getting more affected by chills than adults. Chills can become a life-threatening infection to newborn infants and young children. Therefore, parents must pay enough attention to their children to make them stay away from chills.

What causes chills?

Chills are mainly caused due to bacterial or viral infections, which lead to severe fever. Some of the notable infections associated with chills are:

What are the symptoms of chills?

Chills that occur with mild symptoms are easily curable. If you ignore the common general symptoms of chills, it may result in life-threatening problems. Chills often occur with underlying symptoms like:

  • Pains and aches
  • Cough and severe headache
  • Earache
  • Diarrhoea
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Rash
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Chattering teeth
  • Dizziness
  • Abdominal pain

What are the complications of chills?

Generally, chills are caused due to infectious or inflammatory viruses. Sometimes, chills are associated with Hypothermia or Meningitis. When you get affected by chills, promptly contact your doctor and take the necessary medications. If you fail to diagnose chills in the starting stage, then it may lead you to severe underlying complications like:

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  • Anxiety, shock and organ failure
  • Brain disorder due to severe fever
  • Dehydration due to vomiting
  • Dehydration due to nausea
  • Seizures
  • Non-stop sweating
  • Over palpitation

How to prevent chills?

We can easily prevent cold chills by wearing warm and tight dresses without stressing the body. Try to wear clothes according to room temperature. Avoid wearing sweaty clothes. Sweating makes your body remain in a cold condition so that you can easily get affected by chills. Take necessary precautions to safeguard yourself against medical conditions that cause chills. Try to avoid alcohol and drugs. In case if you are diagnosed with Diabetes or Hypertension, take all the essential steps to curb down your blood sugar level.

When to call a doctor?

You can take home remedies for fever and chills. It may be cured after 48 hours of home treatment. If fever or chills still exist after 48 hours of treatment, immediately consult your respective doctors if you encounter any of the  below-mentioned symptoms:

  • Irritation in stomach
  • Abdominal pain
  • Excessive vomiting
  • Stiff neck
  • Wheezing
  • Confusion
  • Sluggishness
  • Extreme cough

According to the American Child Welfare Organization, Parents should immediately call doctors in case of the following conditions:

  1. a fever/chills in a child below three months.
  2. a fever/chills in a child age 3 to 8 months with intermittent fever.
  3. a fever in a child from the age of 8 to 24 months with prolonged fever
  4. a fever in the child from the age of 24 months to 18 years with fever more than three days.

Your doctor will proceed to perform a physical examination and evaluates whether you have been infected with bacterial or viral infections that cause chills:

  • Normal blood test to determine bacterial or fungal content in the blood.
  • Urine analysis test.
  • Complete chest X-ray to detect tuberculosis, pneumonia and other bacterial infections.
  • Sputum test to determine lung conditions.

What are the treatments for chills?

  • Being in a warm place reduces the possibility of chills infection.
  • Drinking hot beverages like coffee or tea help you to stay away from the cold.
  • Antibiotics for bacterial and parasitic infections that cause chills.
  • Antiviral treatments for viral diseases.
  • Tablets like Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen for specific conditions like flu that cause chills.
  • Gently sponging our body with lukewarm water.
  • Taking a cold shower may help reduce your body temperature.
  • Never recommend aspirin to children below the age of 18 years.
  • Dress infants and children in light-weighted clothes and avoid wearing heavy blankets on top of them.


Most of the fever/chills due to bacterial infections can be quickly healed within 48 hours by taking appropriate home treatments. If home treatment does not help you, after 48 hours, immediately reach out to your respective doctors. They will help you get rid of fever/chills by prescribing appropriate medications.

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