Chills is the common name for a feeling of coldness accompanied by shivering and possibly fever. Chills may occur at the beginning of an infection and are usually associated with a fever. Chills are common in young children. Children tend, in general, to develop higher fevers than adults. Chills are caused by rapid muscular contraction and relaxation and are the body's way of generating heat when it perceives that it is cold. Chills often herald the onset of a fever or increase in the body's core temperature. Chills may also represent a very significant and consistent finding in certain diseases such as malaria. Prevention of chills is related to the cause, but is often not possible. Avoiding sick people and medications that can cause chills may help prevent some cases. Medications such as acetaminophen are effective in fighting a fever and chills. Alternative treatment of chills includes protecting oneself from inclement weather conditions, drinking warm teas, and making appropriate dietary changes. Ayurvedic treatment might include fomenation therapy, called svedana, to aggravate the fatty tissue and force excess sweat out of the body.
Prevention of Chills
- Children who have symptoms of a viral infection should not be given aspirin, because of the risk of Reye's syndrome.
- Don't use ice water or rubbing alcohol to reduce a child's temperature. These can cause shock.
- Don't bundle a feverish child in blankets.
Home Remedies for Chills
- Mix some honey and lemon juice in a glass of hot water and sip.
- Sponging with comfortably warm water may help in reducing a chills.
- Rub a wet washcloth or towel over the child's body for 20 minutes or for as long as can be tolerated. Add warm water as needed to keep the water temperature the same, and keep the child from shivering.