The involuntary contraction of the muscles causes it.
In medical terminology, this condition is called rigor. In general, chills are accompanied by a high fever.
However, it can also be the body’s normal reaction to environmental changes, mainly during freezing weather. It is the body’s way of generating heat.
The chills usually develop spontaneously and last for several minutes or may continue for a few hours before subsiding.
People who suffer from a high fever due to bacterial or viral infection are prone to experiencing the rigors.
Often, based on the patient’s appearance, the condition is mistakenly assumed to be a seizure, but the two are different entities.
Treating the underlying cause is critical to managing the rigors.
The most common causes are:
Anemia is the most common condition, which occurs due to the low level of hemoglobin in the blood. Hemoglobin is a protein found in red blood cells.
Its function is to carry oxygen to every cell. The other accompanying symptoms are fatigue, pale face, tongue and lips, dizziness, shortness of breath, etc.
Cystitis – This is a urinary bladder infection. The bladder infection produces chills, although not in all cases, and they are usually associated with an increase in the frequency of urination and pain; there is any possibility of urinary bladder infection.
Drugs: Certain prescription drugs manifest chills as their side effects.
Malnutrition: an inadequate diet and gastrointestinal problems related to absorption can cause malnutrition. The general symptoms are fatigue, weight loss, anemia, shortness of breath, dry hair, and skin.
Hypoglycemia: When the glucose level in the blood becomes extremely low, a condition called hypoglycemia occurs. Patients with diabetes who take insulin frequently are at risk for hypoglycemia.
Chills accompany other symptoms of hypoglycemia, such as disorientation, anxiety, palpitations, and sweating.
Hypothyroidism: is a disease of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate metabolic activities in the body. When this gland does not produce enough hormones, hypothyroidism occurs.
As a result, metabolic activity in the body is hampered. The patient suffering from this disease often feels chills in the body.
The rigors or chills can occur in various illnesses and infections:
- Infectious mononucleosis.
- A bacterial infection causes urinary tract infection.
- Common cold and flu.
- Bacterial infection in the ear.
- Abscess and bacterial infection of the skin.
- Pelvic organ infection.
- Amebic liver abscess.
Chills can also be the result of non-infectious conditions:
- Exposure to cold weather.
- Alcohol withdrawal.
- Allergic reaction during a blood transfusion.
The chill is one of several symptoms caused by infection or non-infectious conditions. Various symptoms accompany the rigors, and these depend on the disease.
Chills are characterized by intense body shaking and chattering of the teeth.
The onset in most cases is sudden, and the chill can last from a few minutes to hours.
During this period, the patient prefers to remain covered with blankets. Other accompanying symptoms are:
- The significant increase in body temperature.
- Cough with or without sputum.
- Severe sweating shortly after chills.
- Severe weakness
- Altered consciousness.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Body ache.
- Neck stiffness.
- Chest pain.
- Abdominal pain.
Treatment options for chills
The shaking of chills is often a terrifying experience for the patient. It is also a terrifying sight for someone observing for the first time.
The rigors usually do not last long. They decrease after a few minutes but can recur after an interval.
The main goal of treatment is to treat the underlying cause. The high body temperature should be reduced if a fever accompanies the chills.
Doctors prescribe antipyretic drugs to lower body temperature. If the infection is suspected, antibiotics are prescribed.
During the rigors, the patient may prefer to be swaddled to avoid feeling cold.
However, covering yourself with many blankets should be avoided, as if the patient has a high fever, they may not allow the temperature to drop.
The patient should drink enough water and fluids to prevent or correct dehydration.
Home remedies for chills without fever
If the chill is not related to any serious ailment, several home remedies can help alleviate and treat the condition:
- The person must have eight hours of adequate sleep. It should preferably be a peaceful sleep.
- An herbal tea mixed with honey helps relieve chills.
- Eating hot food is known to increase internal heat; therefore, a person finds relief in cooling that is not caused by fever. Drinking warm water, hot chicken soup, and hot tea is an effective way to reduce chills.
- One of the best home remedies to avoid chills is to exercise. A simple 30-minute walk or outdoor games help ease the chills. This is because, after exercise, internal heat increases in the body.
- If you suffer from constant chills throughout the day, take a hot shower once or twice daily.
- Wearing warm clothing in cold weather also prevents and treats cold and rigors.