Why Do We Feel Cold When We Have Fever?

Have you ever noticed that despite having a fever and a higher body temperature, you frequently feel cold? Although it can be perplexing and unpleasant, this phenomenon is actually your body's immune system's normal reaction to an infection.

In this article, we'll look into why having a fever makes us feel cold. It sounds strange, but your body is actually trying to speed up your recovery by making you shiver while you're sweltering with fever.

The Fever Sensation

We have all experienced the sensation of having a fever while also shivering with chills. In fact, what appears to be an odd internal thermostat issue is your body's attempt to fight off an infection.

Although the normal human body temperature can vary depending on age, activity level, and time of day, it is generally accepted to be 98.6 degrees F. It is important to note that most viruses and bacteria struggle to survive above this temperature.

In fact, a temperature increase of just one or two degrees can halt many invasive microorganisms in their tracks. Therefore, it makes sense that over millions of years, fever evolved as a way for the body to defend itself.

How Do Fevers Occur?

A fever is a brief rise in body temperature that's frequently brought on by an infection. It is the body's natural defense mechanism against dangerous organisms like viruses and bacteria. The severity of fever might vary from a slight rise in body temperature to one that reaches 103°F or higher.

Why do you Feel Colder Even When you're Hotter?

It is a typical physiological reaction, in fact. Your body starts working extra hard to produce more heat as soon as your brain raises the set point of your internal thermostat to a higher level to combat an infection. You feel cold because your core temperature has abruptly dropped below your new "ideal" level.

When you feel cold, your body attempts to generate heat to raise your temperature by contracting your muscles, which causes you to start shivering and even shaking.

How Long do Adult Fevers and Chills Last?

Depending on the reason, a fever's duration and any associated chills can change dramatically. A fever can occasionally only last a day with simple viral illnesses or linger for weeks or months with systemic infections. The best thing to do is to identify the cause of your fever based on other illness-related symptoms and indicators.

Colds and the flu, bronchitis, pneumonia, appendicitis, gastroenteritis, mononucleosis, ear infections, sinus infections, and urinary tract infections are just a few of the many potential causes (UTIs).

Why do we Experience Cold When we are Feverish?

The hypothalamus of the brain houses the body's internal thermostat, which monitors when your body temperature increases as a result of fever and attempts to lower it by inducing a number of responses. The contraction of your muscles and the production of heat during shivering is one of these reactions.

Sadly, shivering also makes you feel cold despite your body's efforts to raise your body temperature. The reason for this is that when you shiver, your body's blood vessels constrict, reducing the amount of blood that reaches the skin's surface. By limiting the quantity of heat loss from your body, conserves heat.

What Other Signs and Symptoms Accompany a Fever?

A fever can result in additional symptoms in addition to feeling cold, such as −

  • Headache

  • Muscle pains and joint pain

  • Fatigue

  • Sweating Chills

  • Reduced appetite

How is a Fever Treated?

The majority of fevers subside naturally as your body fights the underlying infection. There are several things you can do to help with symptom relief and feel more comfortable, though −

  • Rest! When you have a fever, it's crucial to get lots of rest. Your body will be able to save energy and concentrate on battling the infection as a result.

  • Maintaining adequate hydration can assist to prevent dehydration and lower your risk of experiencing shivering and chilly symptoms.

  • Take medicine to lower your fever. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil) are two over-the-counter drugs that can assist to lower fever and relieving other symptoms like headache and muscular aches.

  • Use cool compresses on your forehead or the back of your neck to lower your body temperature and ease headaches.

  • Seek medical help. If your fever is extremely high (above 103°F) or if you are experiencing other symptoms like breathing difficulties, chest pain, or confusion, you should see a doctor right away.


Experiencing coldness while having a fever is a typical immune system reaction to an infection. Your body's natural thermostat tries to lower your body's temperature when it increases by causing shivering, which can make you feel cold and shivery.

While your body fights off the underlying condition, staying hydrated, getting plenty of rest, and using fever-reducing medicine might help to ease your symptoms and make you feel more comfortable. If you have a high fever or other concerning symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

Updated on: 03-Apr-2023


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