More often than not, viral infections such as flu or common cold cause body ache and chills. However, in some cases, these may not be accompanied or followed by a spike in the body temperature. This HealthHearty write-up lists out the conditions that might cause chills and body ache in the absence of a fever.
Pyrexia, which is the medical term for fever, is said to occur when the body’s temperature rises above the normal range. It is considered to be a sign of an infection. However, infections don’t always cause a fever. There are times when one experiences other symptoms such as body ache and chills without fever. Basically, chills refer to a sensation of coldness that is caused due to rapid muscle contraction and relaxation. When one feels cold, the rapid contraction and relaxation of muscles helps in the generation of heat. Though chills are often followed by a fever, there are times when one might only experience chills and body ache. The following sections lists out the conditions that might cause chills without fever.
Causes of Chills Without Fever
Sudden chills, whether or not accompanied by a body ache, can be a sign of either a nutritional deficiency or the initial stages of an infection that is on its way to take over the body within the next 24 hours. Also, certain medical conditions could cause sudden, random spells of chills that last for a short span of time. More often than not, chills are accompanied by aching muscles or joints. The following conditions could cause one to experience chills, as well as a body ache, without an increase in the core body temperature.
Flu is a common infection that is caused by the Influenza virus. Head aches, body ache, chills, fatigue, cough, sore throat, etc., are some of the symptoms experienced by those who develop flu. Though flu can also cause a fever of 100°F or higher, not every individual who is affected by flu experiences a fever.
Milder in comparison to flu, common cold is a respiratory illness that is mostly caused by Adenovirus, Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Parainfluenza, or Coronavirus. It gives rise to symptoms such as nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, sneezing, watery eyes, headache, body ache, fatigue, loss of appetite, low-grade fever, chills, etc. It must be noted that the affected individual may or may not have a fever.
Anemia refers to a medical condition that occurs when the body doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells consist of hemoglobin, which is a protein that transports oxygen to the tissues, and carries carbon dioxide from other parts of the body to the lungs. The body needs nutrients such as iron, vitamin B12, folate, etc., to make hemoglobin and red blood cells. A deficiency of any of these nutrients, blood loss, or destruction of the red blood cells due to certain medical conditions could cause anemia. Anemia gives rise to symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, low energy levels, pale skin, difficulty to focus, loss of appetite, confusion, cold sensitivity, etc.
Low Blood Sugar
Diabetes, which is also called hyperglycemia, is a medical condition that is characterized by high blood sugar levels. There are times when diabetics experience low blood sugar levels. This could occur when one misses a meal, or performs strenuous exercises without having enough food. Under such circumstances, the blood sugar levels might drop, thereby giving rise to symptoms such as chills, clamminess, and pale skin.
Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland is unable to produce sufficient amounts of thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland plays a vital role in growth, development, temperature regulation, and metabolism. Inadequate secretion of thyroid hormones could give rise to symptoms such as increased sensitivity to cold, fatigue, joint or muscle pain, hair loss, brittle hair and nails, weakness, etc.
Besides the aforementioned conditions, chills and body aches could also occur due to infections or autoimmune conditions. People affected by arthritis experience body ache during damp or cold weather. So, they should take precautions during winter. Also, prolonged use of certain drugs could be a contributing factor.
On a concluding note, nutritional deficiencies and dehydration could give rise to cold intolerance or increased sensitivity to cold. Thus, one must follow a healthy, balanced diet, and increase one’s intake of water or fluids. Also, follow an exercise regimen to stay healthy. Adequate sleep is also essential for strengthening the immune system. If body ache and chills are caused due to a medical condition, these symptoms will resolve, once the underlying disease is managed or treated with suitable treatment options.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.