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Chills without Fever

Chills are generally described as a normal reaction of the body when exposed to cold temperatures. However, there are a lot of people who experience chills, without any explainable cause. The skin presents a characteristic aspect – ‘goose bumps’ and the person can describe the sensation as freezing. What happens is that the body tries to produce the necessary amount of heat by increasing the internal temperature of the body. This occurs through the contraction of muscles, which in turns leads to shivering and goose bumps on the skin. Most people describe chills as being an abnormal sensation of coldness. The paradox is that chills can appear independent of fever; when measured, the body temperature is between average levels.

Causes of Chills without Fever

These are the most common causes of chills without fever:

  • Exposure to extremely cold temperatures
    • Skin has a characteristic aspect – goose bumps
  • Infection (bacterial/viral)
    • Gastroenteritis
      • Bacterial or viral infection
      • Symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps
    • Common cold
      • Most often – viral
      • Runny nose, coughing
    • Mononucleosis
      • Also known as glandular fever or the ‘kissing disease’
    • Influenza
      • Viral infection
    • Meningitis
      • Infection of the meninges (membrane that protects the brain)
    • Pneumonia
      • Inflammation of the lungs
      • Coughing, fever or difficulties breathing
    • Strep throat
      • Infection with streptococcus
      • Throat feels sore, swallowing is difficult
    • Infection of the urinary tract
      • Pyelonephritis – bacterial infection (can be life-threatening)
    • Gallbladder stones
      • Calculus accumulation in the gallbladder
      • Symptoms include biliary colic, pain in the abdomen (middle or right upper part of the abdomen), nausea
    • Bladder infection
      • Most commonly – bacterial infection
      • Urination can become difficult
    • Acute bronchitis
      • Chest cold
      • Inflammation of the large bronchi
      • Can be caused by bacteria or viruses
    • Dehydration
      • Not drinking enough water can cause the muscles to contract and chills to appear
    • Vitamin deficiency
      • Vitamin B deficiency (B12 in particular)
      • Can be improved through a proper diet
    • Food poisoning
      • In rare cases, the person who suffers from food poisoning can present chills without fever
      • Other symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps
    • Low glycemic levels
      • If the blood sugar level is too low, then the person will experience chills without fever
      • Other symptoms might include excessive sweating, rapid heart beat and headache
      • Dizziness can also occur, ranging from mild to severe
    • Medication
      • There are certain medications that can lead to the appearance of chills, this being a side-effect
      • The dosage might need adjustment for the symptoms to improve
    • Thyroid dysfunction
      • If the thyroid hormone is produced in low levels, then the person might experience chills
      • The condition is known as hypothyroidism and it is market by excessive sleepiness
    • Toxoplasmosis
      • Parasitic infection
      • High susceptibility – low immune system
      • Other symptoms include general weakness, muscle pain and swollen lymph nodes
    • Insect/spider bites
      • Chills can appear as an allergic reaction to the insect or spider bites
      • Emergency intervention might be required to prevent life-threatening symptoms
    • Mental disorders
      • Anxiety or stress disorders – panic attacks (chills appear along other symptoms, such as the feeling of death and lack of control)
    • Anemia (iron deficiency)
      • Low levels of iron in the blood can cause a person to experience chills
      • The chills are present even when it is warm outside
      • The hands and the feet of the person suffering from iron-deficiency anemia are usually cold.


For the person to stop experiencing chills without fever, it is important to treat the underlying condition. These are the most common courses of treatment undertaken for the above mentioned problems:

  • Antibiotics for bacterial infections
    • Intravenous administration is recommended in more serious cases
    • Recommended for bladder infections as well
  • Antiviral medication for viral infections
    • Sometimes the flu is not treated with anything – the patient is advised to drink plenty of warm fluids and stay on bed rest
  • Symptomatic treatment can address the symptoms of pneumonia
    • Nasal decongestants
    • Cough expectorants
    • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Vitamin supplements and changes in the diet can improve existent vitamin deficiencies
  • Emergency medical intervention is necessary in case of food poisoning
    • Intravenous administration of fluids prevents dehydration
  • Synthetic thyroid hormones can help with hypothyroidism
  • Antimalarial drugs are often used as treatment for toxoplasmosis cases
  • Anti-venom drugs are commonly administered in case of spider or insect bites
  • Relaxation and breathing techniques, plus psychological counseling are recommended for anxiety or stress related disorders
  • Surgical removal of gallbladder stones (recommended in case of big sizes, which cannot be corrected through medication)
  • Iron supplements can correct the symptoms of iron deficiency anemia.

How to control chills?

Below, you will find a series of recommendations on how to control chills. If you will follow them, you will never have to suffer from such problems.

  • When exposed to extremely cold temperatures, be sure to wear adequate protective clothing. Make sure that your extremities (hand, feet and head) are properly insulated from the cold temperatures.
  • When you go to bed a night, make sure that you wear pajamas that are made from fabrics that keep you warm. Also, make sure that your blanket covers the entire body.
  • Drinking hot tea is a good idea to protect yourself from chills. It will keep your body warm and also ensure that you are hydrated. Make sure that you choose the tea according to the moment of the day, avoiding stimulating teas (green or black) at night.
  • Moderate physical exercise is also recommended, as it increases the temperature of the body and it allows for the prevention of the chills.
  • Warm showers are a great way to increase the body’s temperature, reducing the chances for chills.
  • Eating healthy will ensure that you do not suffer from any vitamin deficiency and it will keep the chills under control. The same goes for adequate sleeping; if the body is tired, then there is a very good chance for the chills to occur again.
Chills without Fever
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