Chills as a symptom indicate an unpleasant feeling of cold accompanied by shivering. Chills are almost always related to infection (usually bacterial infections) and high fever.


Chilling sensations may accompany virtually any infection that develops into septic condition. Most common infections related to chills are mentioned below.

Upper respiratory tract infections

Some severe forms of these infections may be accompanied by high fevers and chills, for example complicated tonsillitis (together with sore throat and dysphagia) or sinusitis.

Biliary tract infection

This is a serious condition manifesting with three main symptoms – chills, high fever and abdominal pain located in upper right abdominal quadrant.


Pneumonia may be associated with fever and chills. Other symptoms include cough and shortness of breath.

Kidney infection

Bacterial kidney infection (pyelonephritis) can have very dramatic course manifesting with very high fever, strong headache, pain in loins and chills.


This is a common bacterial infection affecting lower extremities causing leg pain, local redness and fever.


This tropical disease caused by a protozoan parasite known as Plasmodium manifests with recurring episodes of fever accompanied by chills. Malaria bouts are related to episodic breakdown of erythrocytes.


Chills as a symptom can be treated by lowering the fever by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. We must also not forget that patients with high fever tend to loose fluid and dehydration must be prevented.

Jiri Stefanek, MD  Author of texts: Jiri Stefanek, MD
 Sources: basic text sources