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COVID-19 Symptoms Explained: What Causes Chills?

One of the most common COVID-19 symptoms is chills, which is an involuntary bodily response that involves shivering, trembling, and shaking. Your teeth may chatter and you may also have goosebumps. All of these responses cause your muscles to contract and relax, effectively warming up your body.

What Causes Chills?

Chills are a physiological response to the core temperature in the body dropping. For most people, a temperature of 98.6° is ideal. Anything below that can cause your body to feel cold, and as such, your body tries to generate heat by shivering and shaking.

For those with COVID-19 or any other kind of infection (like the flu), chills often coincide with fever. But why does that happen? Why do we vacillate between burning up with fever and shivering with chills? This is another physiological response. To fight infection, the body must raise its internal temperature, as most viruses and bacteria cannot survive above a normal body temperature (98.6°, or close to that). Your body now has a new internal set point and being below that will make you feel cold. Thus, you’ll experience the shivering and trembling of chills as your body tries to generate enough heat to meet this new temperature goal. Once it reaches it, you will no longer feel cold—rather, you’ll experience the burning-up feeling of fever.

PhysicianOne Urgent Care’s Approach to COVID-19 Symptoms

If you’re experiencing chills and are worried that they are a sign of COVID-19, PhysicianOne Urgent Care is here to help. We can conduct COVID-19 testing to determine if your symptoms are related to this virus. We recommend scheduling a Virtual Visit with one of our providers beforehand—he or she will discuss the symptoms you’re experiencing and can schedule a test for you at one of our urgent care centers, which will be prioritized for you when you come in. Learn more about our Virtual Visits and book an appointment today!

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