Chills usually manifest from two situations: a normal physiological reaction to a cold environment or as an accompaniment to fever. Yet some people experience chills almost constantly and without any perceivable cause. From the moment they wake to the time they go to bed, they experience goose bumps throughout their body, teeth chattering chills, and the sensation of being freezing cold. In this article we will discuss what causes chills, chills that occur without fever, and finally some helpful home remedies to treat chills.
What Causes Chills?
Chills are caused by muscles contracting and relaxing rapidly. This occurs when the body is trying to generate heat, in order to raise the body's core temperature. Goosebumps commonly coincide with the chills and are caused by the reflexive erection of the hairs on your body, due to a cold environment or stress. A fever may closely follow these chills, typically indicating infection.
Causes of Chills without Fever
If your chills do not coincide with a fever, it may mean you have one of the following conditions:
Prescription drugs: Chills can be a side effect of prescription drugs, if the prescription is incorrect or an individual is using them in an abusive manner. These chills will be in periodical sessions, where you are besieged with uncontrollable muscle spasms. These chills will be accompanied by nausea and vomiting, allergic reactions, drowsiness, insomnia, heart problems, and dependence.
Bladder Infection or Cystitis: Bladder infections are a quite common occurrence in women, with around 20% of all women developing at least one bladder infection at some time in their lives. Men can also develop a bladder infection, though it is rare. A bladder infection will not always result in chills, as it is a secondary symptom. But if your chills accompany a burning sensation while urinating, increased frequency of urination, and strong smelling urine, then you may have a bladder infection. If you experience these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately as they could indicate a life threatening kidney disease, a bladder or kidney tumor, a prostate infection , or a urinary tract stone.
Anemia: This occurs when the body has low hemoglobin levels - a protein that is found in red blood cells. A common symptom of this condition is chills without a fever. Accompanying symptoms include pale complexion, fatigue, chest pain, dizziness, shortness of breath, and headaches. If your chills coincide with a few or all of the above symptoms then you may have anemia.
Malnutrition: This occurs when your body is not getting sufficient nutrients. There is a wide range of causes for malnutrition, but the three main ones are poor diet, problems with absorption and digestion, and auxiliary medical conditions. The symptoms will fluctuate in accordance to the underlying cause of malnutrition. Chills without fever, fatigue, dizziness, and weight loss are the general symptoms that seem to be present in the majority of the cases. If your chills are followed by these symptoms, you may need to be treated for malnutrition. Treatment involves replacing the missing nutrients, or fixing the underlying medical condition that causes the malnutrition.
Hypothyroidism: The thyroid is a small gland located in a person's neck. Its chief function is to release hormones that regulate your metabolism. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid is not producing enough thyroid hormone. This causes many symptoms; one such symptom is the chills without a fever. Chills will result because you are more sensitive to cold due to this condition. The other symptoms include constipation, depression, fatigue, heavy menstruation, joint pain, pale skin, brittle fingernails and hair, weight gain. As the condition progresses, more symptoms will appear, the later symptoms include puffiness in the face, hands, and feet, slow speech, thinning eyebrows, thickening of the skin, and decreased senses.
Hypoglycemia: This is caused by extremely low blood sugar or glucose. Hypoglycemia is not a condition by itself but a symptom of a specific health issue, the prominent one being diabetes. The symptoms that will coincide with hypoglycemia are chills, confusion, double or blurred vision, heart palpitations, anxiety, sweating, hunger, and a tingling sensation around your mouth.
Spider Bite: Spider bites are normally a harmless nuance, but if they are caused by a black widow or brown recluse spider, serious symptoms can occur. Both spiders will cause similar symptoms. These include chills, which are rarely accompanied by a fever, muscle spasms, vomiting and nausea, headache, abdominal pain, a rash, and joint stiffness. However, they do differ in accordance with the appearance of the spider bite. The brown recluse will produce a bite site that is surrounded by a purplish/bluish rash, encompassed by a white ring that is further outlined in a red line. In the middle of this ring formation there should be a blister that is filled with liquid. The black widow will produce a bite that is red and has two visible fang marks. Treatment can be restricted to over the counter medication and home remedies, unless you develop a severe allergic reaction. If this occurs you must seek immediate medical intervention.
Bladder Infection or Cystitis: When the infection is mild it can be treated with antibiotics. The type of antibiotics prescribed varies, but it will probably be one of the following: penicillin, ampicillin, amoxicillin; sulfisoxazole and trimethoprim. If the infection is quite severe, surgery may be required. This is used to correct anatomical abnormalities that caused the infection in the first place. With regards to antibiotic treatment, the length of treatment will depend upon your age and gender. Women will require antibiotics for no more than 3 days, whereas men and children will need longer treatment averaging around 7-10 days.
Anemia: Treatment will depend upon the underlying cause of the anemia. If it is due to an iron, vitamin B12, folic acid, or other vitamins and minerals deficiency, then supplements will be integrated into your diet. Anemia that is caused by extreme blood loss, normally due to heavy periods, will most likely be treated with a blood transfusion. An immune system that destroys the body's red blood cells will be treated with medicines that suppress the immune system. The last prominent cause of anemia is problems with a person's bone marrow, this type of anemia will be treated Erythropoietin. Erythropoietin is a medicine that stimulates the bone marrow to make more blood cells.
Hypothyroidism: Treatment is centered on replacing the thyroid hormone that is lacking from your body. This commonly involves the administration of Levothyroxine. Treatment will be required for the rest of your life, and should not be stopped even if the symptoms go away.
Hypoglycemia: The immediate response to this symptom will be to raise your blood sugar to the normal level, through either high-sugar foods or prescribed medications. Once your blood sugar is within the normal parameters, the next step will be to uncover the underlying cause. Some common causes are diabetes, medication side effect, alcoholism, insulin overproduction, an endocrine deficiency, or illnesses of the liver or kidneys. Once the underlying medical condition has been diagnosed, the corresponding treatment will commence.
2. Home Remedies
If your chills are not caused by a severe medical condition, it may be possible to treat them through specific home remedies. Below we have listed a few of them:
- Getting a good night's rest can ease the severity of the chills. It is recommended that you get around 8-9 hours of sleep a night.
- Eat on a regular basis, making sure you don't go hours without having some form of nutrition. It is a good idea to keep a muesli bar or a small snack in an accessible place; such that when you experience chills, you have easy access to something edible.
- Regular exercise can aid in preventing your chills from manifesting. This can be just a walk around the block or a quick swim. It's whatever you feel comfortable with.
- Taking a vitamin B supplement can be extremely beneficial to your body. It can reduce the chills and increase your overall energy.
- Drinking warm water occasionally can aid in soothing the body and decreasing your chills. This is due to the fact that it is keeping your body well hydrated, while also maintaining your body heat.
- If you get a sudden attack of the chills, try running yourself a warm and soothing bath. This will calm and warm your body, thus dissipating the chills.
Hopefully upon reading this article you have a clear idea as to what is causing your chills. If you are still unclear about what is causing them, be sure to make an appointment with your doctor to obtain a professional diagnosis.