Body Aches and Chills

You’re just going about your day and suddenly it hits you. There are a number of different illnesses that cause these aches and chills symptoms and others. You might want to know what might be getting you down and what to do for it. This article explains some of the more common causes, things you can do at home, and when to check in with your doctor.

Why Do I Experience Body Aches and Chills?

The symptoms are inevitably a sign that something is going on inside your body. It definitely makes you wish you could stay in bed all day long. It can also make you wonder what is wrong. Here are some of the more common causes:

1. Viruses

Viruses are infections that take over the cells in the body. They can cause mild, moderate or severe illness.

Symptoms: Body aches, fever, chills, and severe fatigue. They can also cause weakness, coughing, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

What to Do: Simple viruses just need rest, fluids, and time to recover. Antibiotics do not help viruses. If you run an unusually high fever (104°F or higher), have a severe cough, or cannot keep food or fluids down, you need medical evaluation.

2. Mononucleosis

This is a viral infection that causes swollen lymph nodes and overall body aches and chills. The illness lasts weeks to months, but the fatigue can be permanent.

Symptoms: Fever, chills, sore throat, abdominal pain, aches, profound fatigue, and enlarged spleen.

What to Do: If you have viral symptoms that do not clear up in 7 to 10 days, see your doctor. You may need tested for mono. Sudden sharp pain in your left side is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 or get to your nearest emergency room. Mono is treated with rest and increased fluids.

3. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Doctors aren’t sure what causes chronic fatigue syndrome, but it is characterized by the need for extended rest periods after physical activity or stress. Fatigue can come and go or be constant on a daily basis.

Symptoms: Daily fatigue that lasts for 6 months or longer. Viral like symptoms including: body aches, chills, low grade fevers, brain fog and trouble thinking.

What to Do: If you have symptoms of CFS, see your doctor. There are tests they can run that can rule out other conditions that cause profound fatigue. If the cause can’t be found, there are treatments for chronic fatigue and lifestyle remedies that can greatly reduce the fatigue.

4. Autoimmune Disease

Autoimmune diseases are conditions where the body attacks itself as if there were a virus or infection present, but there isn’t. The immune system revs up and fights off healthy body tissues for no reason at all and the flares can feel like an illness.

Symptoms: Body aches and chills. Low-grade fevers, joint pain, fatigue, rashes, and coughing.

What to Do: If you have unexplained fevers, aches, chills, and a rash, see your doctor. There are blood tests that can often catch autoimmune antibodies. Treatments include: anti-inflammatory medications, corticosteroids, and drugs that lower the immune response in the body.

5. Low Thyroid Hormone

Hypothyroidism happens when your thyroid doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. This affects the body’s metabolism that controls your temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, and many other body processes.

Symptoms: Feeling sluggish, achy muscles, chills and cold feeling. You can also experience weight gain, slow heart rate, high or low blood pressure, issues with your hair, slowed digestion, and brain fog.

What to Do: If you have the above symptoms, your doctor can perform a simple thyroid hormone test. Replacement hormones are effective in just a few weeks and available by prescription from your doctor.

6. Tuberculosis

This is a serious and highly contagious bacterial infection of the lungs. It requires isolation from others and long-term treatment with antibiotics.

Symptoms: TB is characterized by: a chronic cough, night sweats, body aches and chills. It can also cause chest pain and weight loss.

What to Do: Get tested for TB yearly during your physical. If you think you have been exposed to TB, see your doctor right away for a TB test and/or chest x-ray. If you are positive, you will need to take a full-course of antibiotics and stay away from others for a while.

7. Sinus Infection

A bacterial sinus infection usually occurs after a cold or other viral illness. The mucus produced from allergies and viral infections can sit in the sinus cavities and grow bacteria.

Symptoms: Bacterial sinus infections cause fever, facial pain, headaches, body aches, chills, and pressure in the head area.

What to Do: Try using a sinus wash/rinse a few times a day. You can use over-the-counter pain relievers and decongestants. If the infection does not clear up on its own within a week and feels worse, see your doctor for treatment.

8. Influenza

One of the classic first signs of influenza is quick onset body aches, and chills. Many people complain of feeling like they have been “hit by a truck.”

Symptoms: Influenza is often accompanied by chills, fever, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, severe coughing spells, sore throat, and severe fatigue.

What to Do: The flu is a virus and cannot be treated with antibiotics. However, if you see your doctor in the first 72 hours there are antiviral medications that can lessen the severity of the illness. Drink plenty of clear fluids and get plenty of rest.

9. Pneumonia

Pneumonia is an infection in the lungs and can be caused by either viruses or bacteria. Fluid builds up in the lungs and makes breathing hard and causes severe coughing and chest pain.

Symptoms: Deep cough with phlegm, shortness of breath, chest pain, body aches, and chills.

What to Do: If you have a lasting cough that gets worse with sudden onset of fever and chills see your doctor. You may have bacterial pneumonia that needs antibiotic treatment. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids, change positions in bed often and take deep breaths and cough every two hours.

10.Vitamin B12 Deficiency

A low vitamin B12 can have effects on the nervous system and cause anemia. It is one of the causes of unexplained body aches and chills without illness.

Symptoms: Low vitamin B12 can cause anxiety, depression, body aches, signs of anemia, chills, fatigue, numb feelings, and trouble remembering things.

What to Do: A severe deficiency may require B12 shots from your doctor. They can do a lab test to check your levels if you have severe symptoms. You can also increase foods in your diet that are high in B12 like eggs, dairy, lean meats, cheese, and whole grains fortified with B12.

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