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Chills refers to feeling cold after an exposure to a cold environment. The word can also refer to an episode of shivering, accompanied by paleness and feeling cold.
"Goose bumps" are associated with a feeling of chilliness but are not necessarily associated with chills or fevers. Goose bumps raise the hairs on the body to form a layer of insulation.
Chills may occur at the beginning of an infection and are usually associated with a fever. Chills are caused by rapid muscle contraction and relaxation, and are the body's way of generating heat when it feels that it is cold. Chills often predict the coming of a fever, or an increase in the body's core temperature.
Chills may also represent a very significant and consistent finding in certain diseases such as malaria.
Chills are common in young children. Children tend, in general, to develop higher fevers than adults. Even minor illness may produce high fevers in young children.
Infants tend not to develop obvious chills, but any fever in an infant 6 months or younger should be reported to a health care provider. Fevers in infants 6 months to 1 year should also be reported unless the parent is absolutely certain of its cause.
Powell KR. Fever. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa:Saunders Elsevier;2007:chap 174.
Powell KR. Fever without a focus. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa:Saunders Elsevier;2007:chap 175.
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