General or Other | General Practice | Chills (Symptom)


A chill is a shivering attack accompanied by chattering teeth, pale skin, goose pimples, and feeling cold. Chill frequently precedes a fever. Repeated or severe shivering suggests serious illness. It occurs because cytokines and prostaglandins are released as part of an immune response and increase the set point for body temperature in the hypothalamus.


Essentially any condition that may produce fever (including infections and cancers) can result in chills along with fever. Part of your body’s response to infection is to create a fever by raising body temperature. Chills are caused by rapid contraction and relaxation of the muscles to increase body temperature. A fever can help to kill infectious pathogens or prevent their spread because most pathogens that cause infection survive best at a normal body temperature.

Exposure to a cold environment can result in chills. With prolonged exposure to cold, serious injuries related to hypothermia can result. Also known as rigors, chills are commonly caused by: influenza, tonsillitis, infectious Pneumonia, Biliary sepsis, Pyelonephritis, visceral abscess (including lung, liver and paracolic), Malaria, a side effect of treatment with amphotericin B and general Illnesses.

Goose bumps are associated with a feeling of chilliness but are not necessarily associated with chills or fevers. Goose bumps raise the hairs on the body to form a layer of insulation.