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What Causes Sudden Chills and Shivering in Your Body?

Dr. Pankaj Mandale 222 Views
Updated: 19 Jun 2024
Published: 19 Jun 2024

Chills are your body's way of raising its core temperature. Deep breathing, using extra blankets or heat pads, and medical care can all help stop shivering. When you are chilly, your muscles contract and relax quickly to produce heat. This causes some or all of the body to shiver or shake. You can shiver even on a hot day if there is chilly air or if you are sitting under the shade.

Causes of Chills and Shivering in Body

The rapid alternating of muscular contraction and relaxation causes chills (shivering). When you're cold, your body tries to warm up by contracting its muscles. Shivering with fever is frequent. They may appear before a fever, mainly if an illness causes the fever. Other times, they occur without a temperature increase. Depending on the underlying cause, chills might be severe or mild.


Aside from being chilly, the most prevalent cause of shivering is fever. Shivering with fever is primarily caused by illness; however, inflammation or an allergic reaction can also raise the body temperature. Some people with fever may also have flu symptoms, while others will not.

Psychogenic movement disorders

Some people experience shaking and other involuntary movements as a result of stress or mental health issues. This is typically due to a psychogenic movement condition, which can affect any region of the body. A neurologist or clinician who specialises in brain-related medical diseases will commonly diagnose psychogenic movement disorders. 

Post-anaesthetic Shivering

Shivering may occur when a person regains consciousness following a general anaesthesia. A person's temperature may decrease during surgical treatment, causing them to shiver when they wake up afterwards. Anaesthesia can also impair the body's capacity to regulate temperature. Doctors usually monitor a patient's temperature and, if necessary, administer blankets or heaters.

Fear, Excitement or Stress

Strong emotions can make a person shake or shiver. An adrenaline surge in the body usually causes this. Adrenaline is a hormone that sets off the body's fight-or-flight reaction. Shivering should stop once the adrenaline has left the body. Adrenaline surges and tremors can be more common in people who are under chronic stress.


Essential tremor is a medical disorder that can cause involuntary trembling, shaking or shivering. It is a neurological disorder, which means that it affects the brain. This disorder affects around 10 million people in the United States and causes trembling in the hands, legs, body and voice. Tremors may potentially be a sign of Parkinson's disease, a condition that affects a specific part of the brain and often develops gradually.

Low Blood Sugar

If a person goes without food or water for an extended period, the level of glucose in their blood may decline. Low blood sugar levels might cause shivering or trembling. People with diabetes will experience hypoglycaemia, which can be severe. People with diabetes should check their blood glucose levels frequently to avoid dipping of blood sugar levels to a low count.


Anxiety is a mental health issue that affects both the body and the psyche. It might induce physical symptoms like nausea, rapid heartbeat, and shivering or shaking. Anxiety treatment options may include therapy, medication and lifestyle modifications.

When to Consult a Doctor?

The main reason of body shivering is fever. However, chills without a fever can be severe if you have encountered frostbite or hypothermia. These medical conditions can swiftly escalate into a medical emergency requiring prompt attention or treatment.

Other illnesses that produce chills, such as hypothyroidism, require medical attention but may not necessitate a trip to the emergency room. If you experience the symptoms of this thyroid issue, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss receiving a diagnostic blood test.

If you have hypoglycaemia symptoms but have not been diagnosed with diabetes, get medical attention right away. If your diabetes and hypoglycaemia symptoms do not improve with at-home treatment options, you should seek medical attention immediately.


Shivering can be a more severe symptom in the elderly or people with underlying medical conditions. Older folks are frequently less able to control their body temperature, so they may become colder faster. Keeping warm in chilly weather is critical for overall health. Fever raises the heart rate and leads quicker breathing pattern, which can be dangerous if you have a heart or lung issue.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

  1. Why do I have chills though I don’t have a fever?

    Answer:- Chills may occur before the onset of a fever and can also be caused by other medical disorders, such as low blood sugar or starvation.

  2. What causes unexplained chills?

    Answer:- A cold might cause unexplained chills. Besides that, a medical condition such as hypothyroidism or a powerful emotion can also lead to unexplained chills.

  3. Can you get a cold without a fever?

    Answer:- It is typical to have a cold without a fever, but this might vary depending on your age, overall health and the specific virus you get.

  4. Why am I suddenly shivering without reason?

    Answer:- Shivering can be induced by powerful emotions such as stress, fear, excitement or worry, which generate a spike of adrenaline in the body.

  5. What should you do if you suddenly start shivering?

    Answer:- Coffee, tea, hot chocolate and other warm drinks can temporarily warm up your body, reducing shivering.

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