Chills without Fever: Causes and Treatments

What is Chills

Chills refer to the involuntary contractions of the skeletal muscles along with the quivering and chattering of teeth.  This occurs when the body tries to release more heat from within in order to maintain equilibrium or homeostasis within the body’s internal environment.

The skeletal muscles contract and relax to produce heat. It is the body’s way of responding to cold temperature. Chills or rigor is also associated with the feeling of being cold. When the body is exposed to cold environment or stress, your skin may also show goose bumps and you can describe that feeling as freezing. However, goose bumps are different from chills. The thing is that chills can also occur even without fever.

Chills without Fever Causes and Treatments

What are the Causes of Chills without Fever

The most common cause of chills is being exposed to cold temperature. The body reacts by increasing the internal heat in order to balance the temperature of the body according to the external environment. This is done by the continuous contraction and rapid relaxation of the muscles.

If you have chills without fever, this can be due to infections, low blood sugar level, panic attacks, underactive thyroids and certain medications. Here are the most common causes of chills without fever.


When the body does not get enough nutrients, it becomes harder for the system to fight against bacteria and virus. The body organs also become weak and susceptible to different types of diseases. Factors that contribute to malnutrition are poor diet, digestion problems and absorption problems. These issues lead to dizziness, over fatigue, weight loss and chills without fever. People who lack vitamin B, especially vitamin B12, have higher chances of experiencing chills.


One of the reasons why you experience chills without fever is iron deficiency or anemia. This occurs when the body does not have adequate amount of red blood cells and it leads to headaches, fatigue, and chills. Vitamin B12 deficiency or iron deficiency can make someone anemic. You can prevent anemia from occurring foods that are rich in vitamin B12.

Foods that are rich in vitamin B12 are clams, beef liver, mackerel, soy products, eggs, dairy products, fortified cereals and beef. It is also important to supply the body with all the vitamins and nutrients it needs.

It is important that you practice a balanced diet and always include green vegetables, almonds, red meat and seafood. Foods that are rich in vitamin B12 can increase the level of iron in your blood.

Urinary Tract Infection or Cystitis

Urinary Tract Infection

Urinary tract infection or Cystitis (bladder infection) could be the reason of getting chills without fever. Cystitis happen when bacteria enter into the urethra and leads to infection. Once infected, it leads to painful sensation when urinating. It can also lead to pelvic pain, foul-smelling and cloudy urine. If the infection becomes more serious, this results to chills with fever or without fever.

Cystitis and other urinary tract infections have to be treated immediately to prevent further health problems. This is important as experiencing chills caused by Cystitis or UTIs can also mean that the kidneys have become infected.

Make sure that you consume plenty of water to eliminate toxins from your system. This procedure helps in removing the infection faster.  Including cranberry juice in your diet is also helpful to avoid UTI as cranberries are rich in antioxidants. It can also improve the function of the bladder while preventing infections.

Acute Bronchitis

Acute bronchitis is the inflammation of the bronchi. This is caused by viral or bacterial infection that leads to swollen bronchi. It results to cough, chest pain, problems with breathing and chills with or sometimes without fever.

Influenza (Flu)


Influenza or flu commonly occurs to children who did not receive vaccinations. When the body is exposed to microorganisms or other types of virus, the person can experience chills without fever for one to two days. Fever begins when the virus become active.

Sepsis (Blood Poisoning)

Sepsis is a blood infection that leads to blood clotting, low blood pressure and organ failure. This is very dangerous and life-threatening. The most common symptom of blood poisoning is chills. It can also be accompanied with fever or low temperature of the body. Other symptoms include abdominal cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and shaking.

Sepsis occurs when the bacteria gets into the blood. Other causes of sepsis are medical conditions such as pneumonia, appendicitis and meningitis. If you or someone you know appears to have the symptoms of sepsis or blood poisoning, seek for medical attention right away.


One of the symptoms of hypothermia is shaking chills. This happens when the temperature of the body drops and the skeletal muscles rapidly contracts and relax to keep you warm. If the process continues, the shivering will stop. However, the person can become confused and will not be aware that the condition is getting worse.  The elders have the highest risk of experiencing hypothermia but there are also medications that can lead to this problem.

According to National Institute on Aging, a room temperature between 60 degrees to 65 degrees Fahrenheit can cause elderly people to experience hypothermia.

If you see someone shivering or shows the signs of hypothermia, make sure that you act right away and give warmth. You can put a warm blanket and make sure that the temperature of the room is at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit. If the case is severe, seek for a professional help right away.


Hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar or low blood glucose, occurs when the glucose level in the blood decreases below normal. The symptoms may vary from person to person while some people do not show or feel any symptoms. If your hypoglycemia is severe, the glucose level in the blood becomes so low that you’re incapable of giving yourself treatment. You will need assistance from another person. Hypoglycemia often occurs to people with diabetes type 1.

The symptoms of hypoglycemia include shaking or jittery, headache, lightheaded, confused, pale, sweaty, irritable, weak, fast or irregular heartbeat, hunger and blurry vision. If a person has severe hypoglycemia, he or she will be unable to eat or drink, may experience convulsions or seizures and can be unconscious.

Many doctors also recommended drinking fruit juice and other drinks that contain sugar to get rid of chills temporarily. If you are a diabetic patient, consume foods and beverages that can regulate the level of blood sugar such as green tea, cinnamon, olive oil, red apples, green vegetables, oatmeal, pulses, citrus fruits, cold-water fish, okra, bitter melon, apple cider vinegar, grass-fed beef and dark chocolate.

Anxiety, Stress, Panic Attacks or Depression

You can also experience chills without fever when having panic attack. The chills can be accompanied by chest pain, dizziness, pounding heart, trembling and nausea. The most common symptoms of anxiety disorder include lightheadedness, chills and fear of dying.

You can alleviate anxiety, stress, depression and panic attacks using essential oils. These oils can soothe your mind and body. Essential oils that are effective in calming both the mind and the body are lavender, chamomile, lemon, bergamot and jasmine. If you have an essential oil diffuser, simply add few drops of your chosen essential oil. Use it before going to bed and also during day time to get its soothing effects.


Another reason of experiencing chills without fever is hypothyroidism. This is occurs when the thyroid gland is not producing adequate amount of thyroid hormone. The thyroid is associated with the body’s metabolism and problems with the thyroid make your body more sensitive to cold temperature. This results to shivering chills. Other symptoms of hypothyroidism are constipation, fatigue, dry skin and depression.

You can avoid hypothyroidism by having a balanced diet. You can also include nuts, legumes, fish, seeds and coconut oil in your meal to improve the function of your thyroid.


There are certain medications that cause chills without fever such as taking Effexor, Ondansetron, Ibuprofen and Voltaren. One of the side effects of taking these medications is chills. If you are taking medications that make you shiver, make sure that you talk to your doctor about it.

Chills without Fever Treatments

Chills without Fever Treatments

If you are experiencing mild chills without fever, you can treat this at home by:

  • Relaxing your body through a warm bath.
  • Taking vitamin B supplements to help your body alleviate chills while boosting your energy level.
  • Drinking plenty of water to maintain heat.
  • Eat regularly and make sure that you eat only healthy foods and drinks.
  • Get adequate amount of sleep. The recommended number of hours is 8 – 9 hours of sleep.
  • Take time to exercise such as brisk walking.
  • Use essential oil diffuser to calm the mind and the body.

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