Chills without fever: symptoms, causes and treatment

Do you have episodes of chills without fever? We tell you what is behind them and what you can do about it.

Last update: January 03, 2022

We normally associate chills with infectious processes (caused by viruses and bacteria). Because of this, most episodes are accompanied by a fever. In fact, the chills are a mechanism of the body to warm up; since the “vibration” of your muscles increases your internal temperature. With this in mind, what is behind chills without fever?

Certainly these types of episodes can surprise many people, especially those who are used to experiencing them in conjunction with fever. Although in general cases of this type are benign, be aware of other symptoms as they may indicate an underlying condition. We teach you everything you should know about chills without fever.

Symptoms of chills without fever

Experts define chills as ‘a sensitivity in the perception of cold accompanied by involuntary shivering’. The experience can last from a few minutes to several hours, and in some cases extend over several days (manifesting itself through episodes throughout this time). Symptoms of chills without fever are as follows:

  • Increased perception of cold regardless of ambient temperature.
  • “Goosebumps”.
  • Involuntary muscle tremors
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Grinding of teeth (product of muscle tremors).
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Sickness.
  • General discomfort.
  • Drowsiness or lethargy

Although you can manifest these signs, chills without fever usually develop independently of them. Cold sweat is a very common symptom, so it can further enhance the episodes thus creating an effect snowball (the cold of the sweat will make you shiver more).

Most of the pictures of this type are benign, so that if symptoms develop, they will appear with a mild or moderate intensity. In severe cases, you may experience fainting, altered consciousness, bluish discoloration of the skin and lips (cyanosis), and shortness of breath. It all depends on the underlying condition that is causing the tremors.

Causes of chills without fever

In theory there are a hundred conditions that can be behind chills without fever. In practice, some explanations are more frequent than others. Since it is not possible to comment on all the conditions that can cause episodes of this type, we leave you with some of the most frequent.

Cold exposure

Simply being exposed to cold temperatures can cause unintentional chills. It is an internal temperature regulation mechanism.

The most common explanation for chills of this type is found in exposure to a drop in ambient temperature. If you have been in the pool for a couple of hours, on the beach, in an open place with big blizzards and so on, then the body will develop tremors to warm itself.

You can also manifest it by wearing wet clothing, exposing yourself to the rain, or stepping on a very cold or wet surface without shoes. Chills are a natural and automatic mechanism for generating internal friction. Creating friction creates heat in between, just like rubbing your palms.

Reaction to extensive activities

Chills can also be a side effect of extensive activities. Riding a bicycle or running can trigger such frames when pushing the body to the limit or when it is done on rainy days or in low temperatures.

Physical activity alters body temperature. Usually this rises, so that the body begins to produce sweat to regulate it. When you finish a workout of one or several hours of intense activity, the temperature can drop drastically, causing the body to chill to reach the ideal temperature.

Another possible explanation is the depletion of your glycogen stores.. The glycogen in one of the fuels for energy, so that when it is depleted you develop symptoms such as muscle cramps, dizziness, fatigue, nausea and of course chills without fever

Side effect of medication

Any medication you take has a potential margin of developing side effects. Most of the time these do not appear, or if they do they are too mild for you to notice them. The temporary or permanent intake of drugs, both those regulated and those that are not (herbal and others), can make you develop symptoms of this type.

What you can do is check the package insert to see if chills are among the side reactions. You can also consult with a specialist, especially when you must maintain its intake for months or years. Together you can find alternatives to treat the condition that makes you dependent on that particular drug..


A person suffers from hypothyroidism when their thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones to meet the metabolic demand. A classic symptom is an increased sensitivity to cold, which can be mistaken for chills. The classic signs that accompany this condition are the following:

  • Weight gain with no apparent cause.
  • Constipation.
  • Dry Skin.
  • Swelling in the face
  • Memory loss.
  • Alterations in mood (with a predominance of emotions such as sadness).
  • Stiffness or swelling of the joints.
  • Slow heart rhythms

Hypothyroidism is a very easy condition to diagnose and also very treatable. If you manifest these symptoms in conjunction with sensitivity to cold, do not hesitate to consult a specialist to rule it out.


Low blood glucose levels can be very dangerous. It is an especially common condition in diabetics.

Hypoglycemia is a decrease in blood glucose levels. In addition to chills, patients develop muscle tremors, sweating, blurred vision, disorientation, and dizziness. You can also manifest irregularities in your heartbeat, weakness, irritability and confusion.

Other possible explanations are allergic reactions, the common cold, anemia, and episodes of nutritional decompensation. A sudden drop in blood pressure can also cause chills without fever.

The most common explanations are the most benign, especially when you haven’t developed severe symptoms or other signs. Intense emotional swings, according to experts, can also be behind the chills. For example, those that you experience when listening to music.

Treatment of chills without fever

Treatment for this condition depends on what is causing the episodes. If it is due to environmental temperature factors or excessive sports, you can bundle up until the symptoms disappear. This will help to regain the average body temperature without the help of this mechanism.

We have already stipulated that if you suspect that a drug is the source of origin, the best thing you can do is consult with the specialist. Usually this will find an alternative medication, allowing you to treat the underlying condition without having to deal with those bothersome episodes.

For other cases, you should seek medical assistance to rule out any type of condition. The fact that there is no fever involved does not imply that it is a benign process, so do not hesitate to attend the specialist as soon as possible. Do this especially if the symptoms are repetitive and cannot be explained by the examples given.

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