Chills and shivering are body's natural mechanisms that help maintain normal body temperature. Vomiting is also a natural response of the body that helps to throw out unwanted or toxic substances. When you feel extremely cold, you experience chills and shivering. Bacterial or viral infections can cause chills that lead to teeth chattering and shivering. Through the action of shivering, body tries to overwork the muscles. This action helps generate heat. Sometimes, chills indicate an increase in body temperature (fever). The feeling usually lasts for a few minutes, or for a few hours.
Possible Causes of Severe Chills and Vomiting
Acute Viliuisk Encephalitis: This is a disease caused mostly by a virus. The virus attacks the brain and inflammation of the brain leads to headache, neck pain, drowsiness, vomiting and fever with chills.
Mercury Inhalation: If a child or an adult inhales the mercury from a broken thermometer (more likely in a poorly ventilated room), then the person may show symptoms like chills, vomiting, fever, headache, breathing difficulty, etc.
Tin Poisoning: Ingestion of tin can lead to tin poisoning, resulting in severe chills, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea.
Addison's Disease: If the body is not able to produce sufficient quantity of adrenal hormones called adrenal corticosteroids, then the person may have to face several health complications. This is a progressive hormonal disorder, and can lead to low blood pressure, low blood sugar, chills, vomiting, dark patches on skin, weight loss, muscle weakness, fatigue, etc.
Drug/Alcohol Withdrawal: Usually a drug addict or alcohol addict suffers from chills, nausea, vomiting, nervousness and fatigue. The symptoms may vary from person to person depending upon the extent of addiction. It is possible to experience chills without fever.
Insect Bites/Allergies: Some people may show symptoms like chills, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, after insect bite, or after ingestion of an allergen. Poisonous spiders like the black widow, or the brown recluse, some ticks, snakes can cause a lot of trouble to human beings. One should immediately consult a doctor.
Prolonged Exposure to Cold: Excessive exposure to severe cold at high altitudes can lead to severe chills, breathing difficulty, frostbite. Some people may suffer from vomiting due to lack of oxygen and lack of nutrients.
Sepsis: When the bloodstream is overwhelmed with bacteria, the person may show symptoms like high fever, chills, vomiting, low blood pressure, etc.
Chemical Poisoning: Ingestion and other exposures to various chemicals like allyl chloride, cadmium, arsine, turpentine oil, tin, phosphine, selenium can lead to various symptoms including chills and vomiting.
Cholangitis: Inflammation of the bile duct can lead to abdominal spasms, pain under right shoulder blade, chills and vomiting.
Cholera: Cholera is a serious disease caused by bacteria. These bacteria are present in the food or water contaminated with human feces. The intestinal infection caused by ingestion of such food or water can prove to be fatal, if not treated promptly.
Medications: Use of certain drugs and medicines, for example drugs used during chemotherapy, can cause chills and vomiting. Overdose of certain medicines can trigger vomiting and chills.
Gallstones: Development of gallstones in the gallbladder may cause severe abdominal pain, fever, chills, vomiting, loss of appetite, pain after eating, etc.
One may suffer from severe chills and vomiting during several other medical conditions like high fever due to malaria, pneumonia, kidney infection, meningitis, pelvic infection, diverticulitis, AIDS, urinary tract infection, pelvic inflammatory disease, hepatitis, liver disorders, food poisoning and various other bacterial and viral infections. If the symptoms do not go away on their own within a few hours, one should consult a physician.
Rubbing the toes, feet, palms helps generate heat. Covering the person with warm clothes and blankets is essential if he/she is experiencing severe chills. A hot herbal tea, a hot bowl of chicken soup, heating with hot water bag can help lower the symptoms. Chewing of cardamom or clove may reduce nausea and vomiting. Treatment may vary according to the cause and other symptoms. Correct diagnosis and prompt treatment promote fast recovery. The person may have to undergo several tests to find out the underlying cause of the symptoms exhibited by the body.