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Alternative namesChills are a sensation of cold from exposure to a cold environment or an episode of shivering with paleness and a feeling of coldness.
"Goose bumps" are associated with a feeling of chilliness but are not necessarily associated with chills or fevers. Goose bumps raise the hairs on the body to form a layer of insulation.
Chills may occur at the beginning of an infection and are usually associated with a fever . Chills are caused by rapid muscular contraction and relaxation and are the body's way of generating heat when it perceives that it is cold. Chills often herald the onset of a fever or increase in the body's core temperature.
Chills may also represent a very significant and consistent finding in certain diseases such as malaria .
Chills are common in young children. Children tend, in general, to develop higher fevers than adults. Even minor illness may produce high fevers in young children.
Infants tend not to develop obvious chills, but any fever in an infant 6 months or younger should be reported to a health care provider. Fevers in infants 6 months to 1 year should also be reported unless the parent is absolutely certain of its cause.
Fever (which can accompany chills) is the body's natural response to a variety of conditions, such as infection. If the fever is mild (102 degrees Fahrenheit or less) with no side effects, no professional treatment is required. Drink lots of fluids and get plenty of rest.
Evaporation cools the skin and thereby reduces body temperature. Sponging with comfortably warm water (about 70 degrees Fahrenheit) may help in reducing a fever. Cold water, however, is uncomfortable, and may increase the fever because it can trigger chills.
Medications such as acetaminophen are effective in fighting a fever and chills. Children who have symptoms of a viral infection should not be given aspirin because of the risk of Reye's syndrome .
Do not bundle up in blankets if there is a high temperature; this will only cause a fever to rise.
Home care for a child:
Children who have symptoms of a viral infection should not be given aspirin because of the risk of Reye's syndrome .
If the child's temperature is over 103.5 degrees Fahrenheit 1 to 2 hours after giving medication for fever, place the child in a tub of lukewarm water up to the navel. Rub a wet washcloth or towel over the child's body for 20 minutes or for as long as can be tolerated. Add warm water as needed to maintain the water temperature and keep the child from shivering. Pat (don't rub) the child dry with a towel.
Call your health care provider if
The health care provider will obtain your medical history and will perform a physical examination .
Medical history questions documenting chills in detail may include the following:
The physical examination may include emphasis on the skin, eyes, ears, nose, throat, neck, chest, and abdomen. Body temperature will likely be checked.
Diagnostic tests that may be performed include the following:
Update Date: 5/4/2003Bridget Martell, M.D., Department of Internal Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT