Shivering is a natural body reaction that often occurs when you are cold. However, you sometimes experience this condition even if you are not exposed to cold temperatures. In this case, shivering can be a symptom of an illness that you may be suffering from.
The body has a natural mechanism when exposed to hot or cold temperatures. For example, the body will sweat when it’s hot and shiver when it’s cold.
However, the cold is not the only reason the body shivers. This condition can also be caused by other factors, such as stress, infection, or certain diseases. Chills may also occur with or without a fever.
Various Causes of Body Shivering
Shivering occurs when muscles repeatedly contract to increase body temperature. This usually occurs when the ambient air temperature is too cold.
However, shivering is only able to warm the body for a short time. After a few hours, the body’s muscles will be tired to contract because they run out of blood sugar as a source of energy.
Besides, not everyone shivers at the same temperature. For example, children shiver more easily at temperatures that are warm to adults. This is because children have less body fat tissue than adults.
In addition to cold temperatures, chills can also be caused by the following:
When you shiver but are not exposed to cold temperatures, this could be a sign that your body is fighting a viral or bacterial infection. Shivering is a mechanism of the immune system to raise body temperature to fight viruses or bacteria. This condition usually appears accompanied by fever.
As for some examples of diseases or health problems that can make the body shiver, including flu (influenza), dengue fever, sore throat, urinary tract infection (UTI), diarrhea, meningitis, and pneumonia.
2. Low blood sugar
A drop in blood sugar levels can also trigger a shivering response. This condition can occur if you do not eat food for a long time or follow a diet in an inappropriate way.
3. Thyroid disorders
The body’s sensitivity to cold temperatures can change with age or due to health problems, such as thyroid disorders. People with hypothyroidism tend to shiver more easily than people without the condition.
Hypothyroidism is a condition when the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones. The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located at the front of the neck.
4. Hypothalamic disorders in the brain
Body temperature is regulated by the hypothalamus which is located in the brain. When the function of the hypothalamus is disturbed, for example due to a tumor or severe head injury, the regulation of body temperature will also be disturbed. This increases the risk of people with hypothalamic disorders experiencing hypothermia.
Hypothermia is a condition when the body temperature drops below 35o Celsius. Severe hypothermia is characterized by chills, decreased body response, speech disturbances, and decreased consciousness.
5. Side effects of surgery and anesthesia
Uncontrollable shivering can also occur due to the use of general anesthesia (general anesthesia) during surgery.
This is because lying in a cold operating room for a long time can make your body temperature drop. In addition, general anesthesia can also affect the body’s ability to regulate temperature.
Shivering sometimes has nothing to do with health problems or exposure to cold temperatures, but rather an emotional reaction.
When someone is afraid, there is a spike in the hormone adrenaline which can make the body shiver. If you’ve ever been so scared that you started shaking, it’s a response to a spike in adrenaline levels in your bloodstream.
Various Ways to Overcome Body Shivering Complaints
When the body is shivering, here are some ways you can do to overcome the complaint of the body shivering:
Wear warm clothes
If the chills are caused by exposure to cold temperatures, keep yourself warm by wearing a sweater or thick blanket. Position yourself in a warm place or turn on the heating or air conditioner set to warm.
Drink lots of water
When you are dehydrated, your body begins to restrict blood flow, making it more difficult to regulate your body temperature. This makes the body cold and shiver faster, even when not in a cold environment. Drinking lots of water can prevent and treat this condition.
Take fever reducer
If your body chills with fever, try to relieve it by taking fever reducers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen. In addition, you can also compress the body and forehead with warm water to relieve symptoms of body chills and fever.
Drink warm ginger
Warm ginger drink has long been believed to warm the body. Ginger has a hot sensation and a slightly spicy taste. Therefore, ginger is believed to warm the body and be able to overcome the cold.
Consumption of high-carbohydrate foods
If you’re shivering and you’re skipping meals or your stomach is empty, eat a high-carb snack like bread, rice, or bananas to help raise your blood sugar and relieve chills.
If your shivering is caused by the air being too cold, it will usually subside after you move away from the cold and warm your body.
However, if your body is shivering even though you are not in a cold place, you should consult a doctor. This is because these complaints can be symptoms of certain diseases, such as infections or impaired ability of the body to control body temperature.
To determine the cause of why your body is shivering, the doctor can perform a physical examination and supporting tests, such as blood and urine tests or X-rays. After that, the doctor will provide the right treatment according to the disease or condition you are experiencing.