Medical Conditions

Chills and Sweats: Possible Causes and How Dehydration Relates

Feeling cold but sweating at the same time? We’ve all been there: shivering with chills and goosebumps, and even burning with fever.

Are chills and sweats serious? What causes them? Why do some people experience chills and sweats, but their body temperature remains the same?

Here’s everything you need to know about chills and sweats and how to feel better by fighting dehydration with DripDrop ORS.

What Causes Chills and Sweats

Chills and sweats are your body’s way of elevating its core temperature. When you have the chills, your muscles involuntarily contract to warm the rest of the body, lasting for minutes to hours.

It all starts in your hypothalamus, a region in the brain near your pituitary gland. Often referred to as the body’s thermostat, the hypothalamus makes adjustments in your body through sweating, chills, and fever if it senses changes inside and outside your body. It is also responsible for hormone production.

There’s a host of reasons why your body wants to raise its core temperature — infection, anxiety, dehydration, low blood sugar, and more we’ll discuss below.

Fever often accompanies chills and sweats, but you can have a fever without them. Meanwhile, you can also shiver with cold and sweat without a spike in body temperature. Dehydration is a good example. When your body doesn’t have the proper balance of fluids and electrolytes, your body struggles to regulate its core temperature. As a result, you experience chills and sweats as your body scrambles for warmth.

To avoid this scenario, water alone isn’t enough. Stocking up on oral rehydration solutions like DripDrop ORS is a smarter choice. DripDrop ORS has the precise ratio of electrolytes and glucose your body needs. These help you absorb fluids so you can beat dehydration fast.

Chills and Sweats With Fever

Chills and sweats: man laying in bed and checking is temperature

Most of the time, chills and sweats accompanied by a temporary increase of core temperature to above 100 degrees Fahrenheit is a sign of infection.

If you're coming down with a fever, it means your immune system is warding off bacterial or viral infections through the heat created by your body.

Illnesses that cause fever with chills and sweats range from conditions like Crohn's Disease to common infections like:

  • Colds and flu

  • Ear infections

  • Strep throat

  • Bronchitis

  • Kidney, bladder, and urinary tract infections

When you're running a fever, sweating may indicate that your high temperature is returning to normal. For example, as your body tries to control an existing infection, it cools itself down through sweat.

Sweating may signal that a fever is breaking. However, keep in mind that the fever may come back if the underlying cause remains untreated.

If you have chills and sweats due to a fever, seek medical attention if:

  • Your temperature reaches 103 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • You have a fever lasting more than three days.

  • Your fever is accompanied by other symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, rashes, stiff neck, sore throat, and headache.

  • Your fever doesn’t respond to fever-reducing medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

As you sweat, watch out for dehydration due to fluid and electrolyte loss. Sweat contains essential electrolytes that help support normal cellular functions, including muscle contractions and nerve function.

Without enough electrolytes in the body, you may experience common symptoms of dehydration, including confusion, headache, cramping, and dizziness. You may also feel thirst and fatigue, along with a rapid pulse rate, dry mouth, and reduced frequency of urination.

When you're dehydrated, water alone isn't enough. To enable rapid absorption and water retention, you need an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop ORS with the right sodium electrolytes concentration and a precise, relatively small amount of glucose. You also need low osmolarity too. The higher the osmolarity (the more particles are suspended in a solution), the slower the absorption.

DripDrop ORS uniquely balances all of these critical ORS components to keep osmolarity low, at just 220mosm/L. It's even lower than the WHO ORS formula (245 msom/L) and a lot lower than traditional sports drinks (300+ msom/l).

Chills and Sweats Without Fever

Chills and sweats: woman wiping away her sweat

There are instances when you might experience chills but not have a fever. For example, chills and sweats can happen before the onset of fever.

Other possible causes of chills and sweats without a significant rise in body temperature include:

1. Exposure to Cold

Chills may result from staying in a room that's too cold or not wearing enough layers while you're exposed to cold outdoor temperatures for too long. You can also get chills if your clothing ends up being damp or if indoors aren’t properly heated.

2. Hormonal Fluctuations

Hormonal fluctuations, especially in women, can cause chills and sweats.

For example, the few years leading to menopause, known as perimenopause, typically involve a host of symptoms. These can include hot flashes and sweating due to hormonal fluctuations.

You may also sweat during the second half of your menstrual cycle. Also known as the luteal phase, sweating is typically a result of the rise of the hormone progesterone. This is because when your progesterone levels increase, your core body temperature will also rise.

3. Low Blood Sugar

Sweating can accompany hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. You may feel shaky and experience sweating.

4. Anxiety and Panic Attacks

When you feel anxious or have intense panic attacks, you may sweat a lot, feel dizzy, and experience palpitations. Other panic disorder symptoms include numbness, chills, and overheating.

5. Medications

Certain medications have chills and sweats as a side effect. These include antidepressants, cancer treatment drugs, and opioids.

6. Alcohol Consumption or Withdrawal

Consuming alcohol in large amounts, particularly for men, may result in chills and night sweats. Sweating is also a symptom of alcohol withdrawal.

7. Underactive Thyroid

If you have an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism, your thyroid gland doesn't produce enough hormones to maintain normal metabolism and support optimal health. Increased sensitivity to cold is one of its symptoms and can lead to chills.

8. Leukemia

Chills and sweats may be symptoms of leukemia, a type of blood cancer. Other symptoms include swelling of the lymph nodes, fatigue, fever, and loss of appetite. Schedule an appointment with a doctor if you have repeated bouts of fever and chills.

9. General Anesthesia

A drop in body temperature following general anesthesia may result in chills and sweats.

10. Reaction to Intense Physical Activities

Whether you're a wildland firefighter or a weekend rock climber, engaging in activities during hot weather may impact your core temperature. As your body attempts to self-regulate, look out for excessive sweating.

Instead of sugary sports drinks, look for an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop ORS. In addition to crushing dehydration fast with the electrolytes your body needs, it contains vitamins and minerals like zinc, potassium, and magnesium, which are essential to support your overall health.

Dress for the weather. Finally, skip the coldest or hottest times of day for intense exercises. If you have to, limit how much time you spend in highly strenuous activities when temperatures are high.

11. Other Possible Causes

It's also worth noting that your body may find it harder to regulate its core temperature as you age. Chronic medical conditions like diabetes and heart disease may also impair your body's ability to regulate core temperature.

Chills and Sweats Due to Dehydration

Worker in the snow wearing a hard hat

You can become dehydrated for several reasons. These include physical activities in extreme temperatures, as mentioned earlier. You can also experience dehydration following repeated bouts of diarrhea and vomiting. Finally, dehydration can result from chills and sweats with or without fever.

One of the best ways to ward off dehydration is to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, whether you're gardening outdoors or working at a construction site.

However, water alone isn’t enough to keep dehydration at bay. DripDrop ORS contains the medically relevant electrolyte and glucose levels required to defeat dehydration. It comes in a variety of flavors you can enjoy hot or cold.

When it's chilly outside, warm up with hot flavors like Spiced Apple Cider, Hibiscus, or Honey Lemon Ginger. For those warm, humid days at the job site or long weekend rides, reach for cold, tasty flavors like Watermelon, Orange, and Berry.

How to Prevent and Treat Chills and Sweats

To address chills and sweats, you need to treat the underlying cause. For example, taking ibuprofen and acetaminophen may help if you have a fever. Reducing your exposure to cold environments may be appropriate if this is causing your chills.

Here are some more steps to help prevent chills and sweats. However, these can’t address all causes of chills and sweats. Talk to your doctor to help identify why you’re experiencing symptoms and develop a treatment plan.

  • Dress appropriately. If you are experiencing chills, add more layers of clothing, including socks, gloves, and beanies.

  • Adjust the room temperature. Each individual's temperature needs are unique. Find your sweet spot by making adjustments to your air conditioning or heating systems.

  • Use cold or hot packs or fans in the bedroom if you experience night sweats or chills.

  • Stay hydrated with DripDrop ORS. Staying hydrated is key to maintaining your health. This will help maintain your fluid and electrolytes levels. Sip DripDrop regularly throughout the day. You can stash some packets in your car or work bag so it’s always on hand.

When to Seek a Doctor for Chills and Sweats

Get the opinion of a medical professional right away if you experience chills, sweats, and fever with other symptoms. See a doctor if you have a high fever (with no other symptoms) that doesn't subside after 24-48 hours.

You should also get in touch with your healthcare provider if you experience body chills, sweating, and the following:

  • Extreme fatigue

  • Chest pain

  • Abdominal pain

  • Wheezing and shortness of breath

  • Change in mental function

  • Rashes or purple spots under the skin

  • Rapid heart rate

  • Recent use of medications that suppress the immune system

  • Recent travel to an area with high cases of infectious diseases

  • Body temperature above 104 degrees Fahrenheit in adults and children older than two years

  • Body temperature above 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit in children aged three months to two years

  • Body temperature above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit in infants younger than three months

Relieve Dehydration Fast With DripDrop ORS

DripDrop tumbler on top of DripDrop sachets

Chills and sweats may be caused by several factors ranging from infection to low blood sugar to a normal reaction to intense physical activities.

If you're experiencing chills and sweats even after taking steps to warm or cool your body, talk to a doctor who can help you treat the underlying cause.

Whatever its cause, chills and sweats can lead to dehydration. To prevent dehydration, reach for an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop ORS. DripDrop ORS has a precise, medical-grade formula, scientifically proven to enable fast, effective fluid absorption and retention.

Get started with a trial or our most popular multi-flavor pouch for dehydration relief fast. If you're ready to make a purchase, and you're a first-time buyer, enjoy 15% off your order with code: FIRST15. Or, learn more about how you can save up to 25% on every purchase when you subscribe.

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