When your body temperature reaches a high level, it can trigger chills. A symptom like chills isn’t necessarily bad, but it can feel uncomfortable and cause you to be restless. In this article, family medicine physician Neha Vyas discusses effective strategies for breaking chills, providing relief from the discomfort and allowing you to regain your comfort and strength.
Chills occur when your body is trying to raise its internal temperature and fend off an infection or illness, such as the flu or a common cold. This symptom may be accompanied by other symptoms, such as a stiff neck or trouble breathing. You might also have a fever, which is a normal sign that your immune system is fighting off an infection.
The shivering you experience when you have chills is caused by muscle contractions that help warm your body up. It is an involuntary response that can result in goosebumps or chattering teeth (which sound as if your jaws are rattling). Chills can also be caused by low temperatures, intense exercise, some medications, and certain illnesses, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, malaria, and some cancers.
Often, your chills will go away on their own after you have treated the underlying cause. Whether it’s heat exhaustion from exercise, dehydration due to drinking too much water or not wearing enough clothing, or an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), treating the underlying health condition will resolve the chills. In some cases, your doctor might prescribe antibiotics for a viral or bacterial infection to help fight off the infection and reduce your chills.