Why Does Fever Cause Chills?
Posted on December 27, 2013 | Author and Reviewed by: Rose Ann C. Galera, RPh
Having fever (pyrexia) causes a lot of uncomfortable symptoms. There’s the increased body temperature (heat), muscle pain, loss of appetite, fatigue, and chills. But haven’t you ever wondered the complexity of the feeling both hot and cold at the same time? How is that even possible? How can the human body register those two completely opposite temperatures at the same time? In this article, we’ll study exactly how that happens.
The rise of body temperature, muscle pain, and chills are all related. According to various reliable online medical sources, the chills are caused by the rapid contraction and relaxation of the muscles inside the body. The muscles do this in order to generate heat, heat that counteracts the onset of a bacterial or viral infection and keep the body warm when it feels cold. The heat generated by the muscles is responsible for the increase of body temperature during a fever.
The rapid expansion and contraction of the muscles could be a possible explanation for why muscle aches and pains are a symptom of fever. Due to the internal work it has to do to keep the body warm, exerting any external force further hurts the muscle more. This is why people suffering from a fever are strongly advised to have complete bed rest and not engage in any strenuous physical activity.
How to deal with fever chills
- First things first, deal with the fever itself. Remember chills and the other effects you feel in your body are just symptoms. Buying medicine for fever/muscle pain like ibuprofen or paracetamol will bring down your body temperature to normal and eliminate all the other symptoms as well.
- The age old remedy of water and lots of bed rest still applies here as well. Remember that you need to stop from exerting a lot of physical effort so your body can concentrate on fighting off the bacterial or viral infection.
- When taking liquids, be sure that you take hot beverages like water or tea with honey and lemon. This is so your body is kept warm with the hot fluids.
- According to a New York Times health guide, sponging the body with warm water greatly helps in reducing the body temperature, as evaporation cools the skin.
- Taking warm showers is also advisable when suffering from fever. When you do so, the warm water opens the skin’s pores, expelling the internal heat, de-pressurizing the body, and maintaining some degree of a cooler body temperature.
- In the same New York Times article, it advises not to cover ones’ self in blankets if he/she has a high fever. Doing so will only cause the fever to rise.
Now that we have studied how chills occur during a fever and how most of the symptoms of increased body heat, chills, and muscle pain are interconnected, we hope you are better equipped now to deal with this ailment in the future. Remember, there’s three things to remember when you have a fever: lots of water, rest, and sleep. Only when the symptoms persist do you consider giving over-the-counter drugs or consult with your physician.