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Main causes of chills and what to do

Chills are shivers, that occur due to contractions and involuntary muscle relaxation. They are very fast and go through the whole body and head, being one of the body's mechanisms to generate heat when it feels cold and, in some cases, announce the beginning of an episode of fever.

Chills may occur early in an infection and are usually associated with fever, causing episodes of palpable tremors and a feeling of coldness. They can be caused due to a cold sensation, but also in case of fever, flu, cold, viral or bacterial infections, throat inflammation, mononucleosis, pneumonia, meningitis or pyelonephritis, for example.

Main causes of chills and what to do

Main causes for chills

The main causes for chills are:

1. Fever

Increased body temperature can cause chills, and make your whole body shiver. Fever can be emotional, affecting mostly children and the elderly who are experiencing difficulties, but it usually indicates that the body is struggling with an infection, or that the person is overworked.

What to do: You should take a slightly warm bath and avoid staying in hot places or under a blanket, for example. Taking tea prepared with raspberry leaves is also good for lowering the fever, but if it is not enough it may be recommended to take Dipyrone or Paracetamol under medical guidance, especially as it is necessary to find out what is causing the fever.

2. Cold and flu

Being in a cold place with strong air conditioning and poorly fitting clothing can also cause you to feel cold, shriveled skin and cause chills, but that feeling may also be present when you have the flu, for example. Other symptoms that help to identify the flu are: cough, sneezing, catarrh, runny nose, chest pain and difficulty breathing. If there is a fever, it is a sign of respiratory infection or pneumonia and one should go to the doctor to take the most indicated medication.

What to do: When you have chills, it is recommended you try to warm yourself up, but measuring your temperature is also a prudent attitude. In case of a strong flu you can take flu medicines that can be bought at the pharmacy, and you need to rest and drink more water to recover faster. But if pneumonia is the diagnosis, one should take antibiotics indicated by the doctor.

3. Throat infection

A sore throat, with small white or yellow spots on the throat may indicate tonsillitis, for example, which can also cause chills and a feeling of discomfort.

What to do: Gargling with lukewarm water and salt can help clear the throat by eliminating the microorganisms, but you should go to the doctor for an evaluation because you may need to take antibiotics. See recipes to treat sore throat naturally.

4. Urinary tract infection

In cases of urinary tract infections, symptoms such as pain or burning sensation when urinating may appear, in addition to cloudy or lumpy urine. Malaise, headache and chills may indicate a worsening of the situation, and that the bacteria may have developed and affected the kidneys, characterizing a pyelonephritis.

What to do: You should go to the doctor because antibiotics are needed for 8 to 10 days, but ingesting more water and cranberry juice are good natural strategies to complement the treatment. See the most indicated medication for UTI.

5.  Hypoglycemia

Decreased blood sugar can affect anyone, but it is more frequent in people with diabetes. Other symptoms that may be present in case of hypoglycemia are cold sweats, feeling dizzy, chills and malaise. Usually this energy level decreases shortly after a person ingests a large amount of sugar or carbohydrate, which can be drinking a soda and eating bread, for example, or when staying more than 3 hours without eating anything as well.

What to do: You should increase the amount sugar in the blood by ingesting a carbohydrate source, which may be sucking a sweet, or taking 1 cup of natural orange juice and eating 1 buttered toast, for example. It is not recommended to eat chocolate, pudding or other very sweet foods so as not to disrupt diabetes. 

6. Changes in the prostate

Men with a prostate inflammation may experience symptoms such as painful urination, decreased urination, lower back pain, chills, and testicular pain.

What to do: You should go to the urologist for an appointment and perform tests that may indicate any change in your prostate and initiate appropriate treatment, which may involve taking medication or surgery in the most severe cases.

7. Hypothyroidism

Decreased thyroid function, which is hypothyroidism, can cause symptoms such as lack of disposition, fatigue, chills, difficulty concentrating, memory failure and weight gain.

What to do: In addition to eating 1 brown nut a day, it is recommended to take medication to regulate the thyroid, under medical advise. An appointment with a physician or endocrinologist may be indicated to investigate symptoms, perform blood tests that measure TSH, T3, and T4, and thyroid ultrasound may be helpful in identifying nodules that may interfere with the functioning of that gland. See some natural remedies to control hypothyroidism.

In addition to these causes, there are also numerous other diseases that can cause chills, so it is always important to seek medical help to identify what is causing this symptom and how treatment should be done.

When to go to the doctor

If the chills become constant, one should go to the doctor because it may be related to some disease that needs specific treatment. Therefore, whenever the chills stay for more than 1 day, you should consider seeing a general practitioner.

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