What It Really Means When You Get Chills Without A Fever

Fevers don't just bring your body to an abnormally high temperature. They also tend to make you feel a lot cooler than usual, with chills that few people find welcoming.

That being said, just because you have chills doesn't necessarily mean you have a fever. In fact, you may not even be sick. Many people experience chills as their bodies try to return to a normal temperature after strenuous exercise (per Insider).

Even more commonly, many people get chills simply because it's cold outside (per Medical News Today). This is especially likely to happen if a person isn't wearing enough layers or if their clothes are wet, and it is more concerning than it sounds. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that if a person is exposed to cold temperatures for too long, they may develop hypothermia, which is life-threatening. To prevent hypothermia, the U.S. National Library of Medicine recommends keeping yourself warm by wearing several layers of clothing and possibly wearing gloves and a hat.

What if you have chills with no fever, but you didn't just finish working out, and it's not cold outside?

Many conditions can cause chills without a fever

Just because you don't currently have a fever doesn't mean you won't develop one. Dr. Don Middleton of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center told Health that chills often precede fevers as a person starts to get sick. This is common when it comes to many illnesses, but especially malaria. Even if you don't develop a fever, chills could be a sign of rheumatoid arthritis, infectious arthritis, or Lyme disease. Cancer can also cause chills, but cancer-related chills are pretty unique.

"Typically for an infection, you have one or two major chills, then a fever, and you feel really bad," Dr. Middleton told Health. "If you have cancer, you might get a chill every night. That really means you need to see a physician."

Chills could also be a sign of hypothyroidism (via Johns Hopkins Medicine), anemia (via Cleveland Clinic), and low blood sugar (via Keck Medicine).

Dr. Middleton adds that people can develop chills as part of an allergic reaction to certain medications, or even as part of a medication withdrawal process.