Chills are caused by viral infections, bacterial infections and exposure to cold, according to the National Institutes of Health. Chills result in rapid muscle contraction and relaxation that produces heat when the body is cold.
Chills may occur at the onset of an infection and typically predict a coming fever or increase in the body’s core temperature. Chills are a critical symptom with diseases such as malaria and are common in young children who generally develop higher fevers than adults, according to the NIH.
Treatment for both chills and fever may include medications such as acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or aspirin, states WebMD. If fever is present in adults and children 12 years and older, drinking lots of fluids, getting lots of rest, taking a lukewarm shower or bath and wearing light clothing may help to alleviate symptoms, adds WebMD.
Seeking medication attention is recommended when symptoms include a bad cough, shortness of breath, abdominal pain or burning, frequent urination, stiffness of the neck, confusion, irritability or sluggishness, notes the NIH. Medical attention is also recommended if there are changes in the level of consciousness, signs of dehydration, pain in one area of the body and if symptoms become more severe and frequent, according to WebMD.