The two main causes of body chills are exposure to cold temperatures and bacterial or viral bodily infections, explains MedlinePlus. Examples of specific infections that can produce body chills are influenza, pneumonia, the common cold, strep throat and urinary tract infections. Malaria, viral gastroenteritis and bacterial gastroenteritis can also produce chills as a symptom. Body chills often occur along with a fever.
Chills are a mechanism for producing bodily heat when a person feels cold, notes MedlinePlus. Oftentimes, the chills occur before the onset of the fever if one is to occur. It is important not to use a fan or air conditioner to try to cool off once a fever is present. Doing so can produce stronger body chills and potentially cause the fever to become higher.
Patients should resist bundling up in blankets, which can also make a fever worsen, according to MedlinePlus. Better options for combating fever and chills include taking fever-reducing medications and applying warm water to the skin with a sponge.
Although they both can occur in response to feeling cold, body chills and goose bumps are not the same physiological reaction, states MedlinePlus. Goose bumps conserve body heat by causing the thin hairs on the skin to stick up, which produces an insulating layer. However, chills sometimes occur along with goose bumps.