Q:

What is the purpose of body chills?

A:

Quick Answer

Body chills are a sign that the body is raising its temperature fighting an infection. The brain elevates the setpoint of the body's temperature to create an environment inhospitable to bacteria and viruses. The muscle contractions in chills are the body's way of increasing its temperature.

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Full Answer

In most cases, the only required treatment is an anti-pyretic medication such as Tylenol to control the elevation of temperature, along with fluids to maintain hydration, as an elevated temperature can drain the body of moisture more quickly. However, if the fever has accompanying symptoms such as a rash, a headache, joint swelling, abdominal pains, severe fatigue, neck stiffness or shortness of breath, it is time to seek medical attention. People with a high fever (over 101 degrees Fahrenheit in the case of an infant) should visit the doctor immediately, as should anyone with a fever lasting more than 72 hours. People with serious medical conditions who develop fevers should also visit the doctor.

If a person with a fever goes through a seizure, loses the ability to move a limb, appears confused or is difficult to wake up, a more severe situation may have set in. In these cases, emergency medical attention is necessary.

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