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Chills Without Fever

Chills Without Fever

Chills without fever is common during winter but can also be due to food poisoning, gallstones and underlying conditions such as thyroid problems and acute bronchitis.
Nicks J
Last Updated: Mar 19, 2018
Chills are nothing but an unusual sensation of coldness. A person experiencing chills is likely to shiver considerably. Chills without fever is something we haven't heard off. This is because a person having fever, initially does complain about chills. However, there have been instances, wherein the person had severe chills, but the body temperature still remained normal.
Causes
Exposure to Cold Climatic Conditions
'Chills' is the body's natural response to cold weather. Shivering of the body in cold environment indicates that the body is no longer able to tolerate the low temperature of the surrounding area. The huge difference between the temperature of the body and its surroundings is replicated in the form of chills without fever. No wonder, people staying in places like Canada and Alaska are not new to chills and shivers.
Remedy: Wearing appropriate clothing that protects you from chilling weather can help to resolve the issue. The onset of winter means there is no substitute for warm clothing that helps to maintain normal body temperature.
Common Cold and Influenza
A person affected with any of these viral infections does suffer from chills and fever. However, both do not occur simultaneously. So, while the person is catching the infection, he may initially experience chills. However, when the virus becomes fully active, fever sets in. There may be a gap of a day or two from the time chills start till the onset of fever.
Remedy: These viral infections generally do not last for more than a week or two. During this period, taking adequate rest and drinking plenty of water is all that is required to treat the infection.
Acute Bronchitis
This is a viral or a bacterial infection of the bronchi, tubular passages that transport inhaled air to the lungs. This infection that goes away within a few weeks typically causes swelling of the bronchi and is then followed by frequent bouts of cough, chest pain and breathing problems. A common symptom associated with acute bronchitis is chills or fever. While both these symptoms can be present in acute bronchitis, in most cases either of them affects. Thus, shivering without fever is relatively common in people diagnosed with this respiratory tract infection. So, besides coughing, sudden chills and shaking is one of the initial symptoms of acute bronchitis.
Remedy: The treatment aims at alleviating symptoms of acute bronchitis. In order to loosen the mucus that is congesting the chest, one should drink plenty of fluids. Adequate fluid intake liquifies the mucus, making it easier to remove while coughing. Avoiding lung irritants as well as taking medications like cough expectorants and OTC painkillers may also help to relieve symptoms of acute bronchitis.
Dehydration
Experiencing chills is considered to be one of the preliminary symptoms of dehydration. A dehydrated body is prone to sudden attack of chills. When fluid loss is not compensated, the body finds its difficult to maintain its temperature. As a result, the person becomes more sensitive to surrounding environment and may suffer from cold chills. People participating in marathon often get chills after completing the event. This happens because the body is severely dehydrated due to non-stop running for an extended duration of time. Apart from chills, dehydration may also cause headache, nausea, muscle cramps and dark-colored urine.
Remedy: In order to restore fluid loss, you need to drink water. As dehydration can also cause imbalance in electrolyte levels, it is also necessary to take fluids containing electrolytes.
Nutritional Deficiency
Lack of proper diet can also trigger this strange feeling of coldness that often comes along with shivering. People showing deficiency in vitamin B, particularly vitamin B12 are bound to suffer from chills.
Remedy: A modification in diet is the key to overcome nutritional deficiency. Fish and eggs are great sources of vitamin B12 and including them in the diet can surely prevent occurrence of chills.
Food Poisoning
Sudden uncontrollable shivering in the absence of fever could also mean food poisoning, a medical condition that occurs after consuming food containing harmful pathogens. Unhygienic food or the one that is not stored properly harbors pathogens and so their consumption is likely to cause food poisoning. Although this food borne illness is generally marked by fever and chills, there have been many reports in which patients contracted this illness without experiencing any high body temperature. The chills associated with food poisoning can be so horrible that one may find it difficult to speak without stuttering. Apart from feeling excessively cold, the illness may cause diarrhea, abdominal cramps and vomiting.
Remedy: In most cases, medical intervention is not necessary as the symptoms do not last for more than a week. However, frequent episodes of diarrhea can cause substantial loss of fluids and electrolytes (potassium, chloride and sodium). So, in order to avoid dehydration, one should drink adequate water and additionally have electrolyte solutions to keep electrolyte levels in equilibrium.
Bladder Infection
People with bladder infections typically experience painful urination and the urine odor too is unpleasant. In case the infection is not severe, chills may occur intermittently without any rise in body temperature. A urinary tract infection (UTI) that has spread to the kidneys initially causes isolated chills and is eventually accompanied by fever.
Remedy: A UTI causing bladder infection, is bacterial in nature. So, treatment involves taking antibiotics for a specified duration to get rid of the infection.
Hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia, meaning blood sugar below normal levels, can also cause isolated chills and is accompanied by excessive sweating, dizziness, headache and a rapid heart beat. Diabetics taking insulin injections are prone to hypoglycemia. Accidentally taking excess dose of insulin can cause rapid fall in blood sugar, eventually causing hypoglycemia. Meticulously following the medication schedule but occasionally skipping meals also increases the risk of hypoglycemia in diabetic patients. Other causes of hypoglycemia include excess alcohol consumption, long-duration exercises and a diet low in carbohydrates.
Remedy: Eating a snack laden with sugar is the best way to quickly raise blood sugar and prevent hypoglycemia symptoms from worsening. If you are prone to recurring attacks of hypoglycemia, make sure to carry a sugary food item whenever you step outside the house.
Prescription Drugs
Side effects of prescription drugs are common, especially when the dosage of medicine is incorrect. The person put on medications for the treatment of a specific disease, may experience sessions of constant chills but surprisingly the temperature would be normal.
Remedy: Reducing the dosage of the prescribed medicine may help to stop these unwanted side effects. However, if the 'chills' continue to trouble you, it's time to change the medicine and look for other alternatives.
Thyroid Problems
The thyroid gland found in the neck does a very important job of producing hormones, that ensure normal metabolic rate, for overall well-being. Thyroid problems can affect normal production of hormones. It is observed that symptoms of chills (with no elevated body temperature) and extreme tiredness are experienced by people, when the thyroid hormone is not being produced in sufficient amounts (hypothyroidism).
Remedy: Medications such as levothyroxine that contain synthetically prepared thyroid hormones are often prescribed to treat this thyroid condition. Hypothyroidism being a lifelong disorder of the thyroid gland, the medications will have to be taken for the rest of the life.
Toxoplasmosis
This is a parasitic infection that is rarely severe in humans. The parasite 'Toxoplasma gondii' that causes this disease is not a cause for concern in people with a healthy immune system. However, those with low immunity have increased risk of facing severe health problems. In healthy individuals, the parasite may not cause any symptoms or those that occur will be too mild to get noticed. Eating raw meat is the primary contributory factor in the transmission of this infection to humans. Symptoms that usually manifest are muscle aches, fatigue, swollen glands and chills. Toxoplasmosis patients with a weakened immune system may complain about recurring bouts of chills.
Remedy: Usually medical assistance is not necessary but severe cases of toxoplasmosis (especially in people with a weakened immune system) will require treatment in the form of pyrimethamine (Daraprim), an oral medicine that is also recommended for the treatment of malaria. Along with this antimalarial drug, the patient will be put on antibiotics to effectively manage this parasitic infection.
Spider Bites
Spider bites are generally not a cause of concern, but certain spiders like the black widow or the brown recluse can cause trouble to its victim. When these spiders bite, their venom (poison) is capable enough to trigger an allergic reaction that is not restricted around the bite area. The painful symptoms of venomous spider bites usually persists for more than a day. In other words, the entire body is affected and the person may fall ill and experience nausea, vomiting and shaking without fever. In such cases, immediately visiting a doctor is essential to prevent further deterioration of health.
Remedy: Application of ice may help to ease the pain and the inflammation around the bitten area. However, treatment for poisonous spider bites will require intravenous administration of antivenom drugs.
Mental Illness
Poor physical health is not the only reason behind occurrence of this cold sensation that causes shivering without fever. People suffering from emotional problems like anxiety disorders (panic attacks) could get this sudden cold feeling from time to time. Visible shivering is often considered as a body's natural response to fear resulting from anxious thoughts. Nervousness, dry mouth and a reduction in body temperature also accompany during anxiety disorders.
Remedy: The ancient practice of yoga and meditation can contribute immensely to calm the mind. Regularly practicing these mind relaxation techniques works to relieve anxiety.
Gallstones
Accumulation of hardened deposits of cholesterol (gallstones) in the gallbladder can also cause shivers all over body with no fever. The gallbladder is a small muscular organ found below the liver. Its main job is to collect bile from the liver and then pass it on to the stomach and the intestine. The bile produced by the liver aids in digestion. When there is excess of cholesterol in the bile, it crystallizes and forms a solid mass, leading to the formation of gallstones. Symptoms usually occur when the gallstone has shifted from the gallbladder and is somewhere in the duct (tubular passage that provides free flow of bile from the gallbladder). This trapped gallstone in the duct can make the gallbladder inflamed, which may lead to right abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting and chills.
Remedy: Small gallstones are not a cause for concern but in case of medium to large sized gallstones that get stuck in the bile duct, symptoms progressively worsen. The doctor may prescribe certain medications that promote dissolution of gallstones. Increasing fluid intake and having plenty of vegetables and fruits, especially apples can also help to get rid of gallstones.
Iron Deficiency Anemia
Unexplained sensation of cold even during summer that causes shivering and is accompanied by fatigue may suggest anemia, a condition that is typically characterized by low hemoglobin levels in the blood. Hemoglobin or iron compounds in red blood cells play a crucial role to transport oxygen to different parts of the body. With low hemoglobin, patients do experience intermittent episodes of shivering during the day and may especially complain about cold hands and feet. Other than iron deficiency, people affected with hemolytic anemia (a condition in which red blood cells die early) may also experience chills.
Remedy: Taking iron supplements in the specified dosage is the first line of treatment for this type of anemia. The supplements should be taken along with meals to prevent the occurrence of side effects such as upset stomach. In order to facilitate absorption of iron, following a diet high in vitamin C, is recommended.
Ways to Control Chills
Wear warm clothes and take bed rest with a blanket covering your body from neck to toe. Taking hot piping herbal teas (ginger, chamomile) many also benefit to control chills. If possible, try doing some aerobics exercises to warm up the body. Following a healthy diet and taking adequate sleep can also help to reduce episodes of shivering. If you don't have any fever, a hot shower bath may also help to get rid of chills that occur suddenly.
Persistent shaking chills without fever certainly cannot be ignored and an appointment with a doctor is essential to diagnose the underlying cause. During your visit to the doctor, make him aware of all the symptoms you are facing. This will in turn help the doctor to diagnose the medical problem correctly.
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.