Think About It Thursday: Why Do We Feel Cold & Shiver When We Have A Fever?

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Over the past couple of weeks I’ve seemed to notice a lot of friends, family, coworkers and acquaintances coming down with flu like symptoms. So naturally I started to wonder why we seem to shiver when we have fevers!

It doesn’t quite make sense how you can shiver with chills in the midst of a burning fever! So why does this happen you ask? 

This is just a response that our bodies have when it is trying to fight off infection! Viruses and bacteria multiply best at 98.6 degrees F. By rising the body’s internal temperature, even by just a degree or two, the body can stop a virus’s ability to grow (There is evidence that many germs don’t thrive as well if you have a fever).That’s why we get fevers.

When the brain increases the body’s temperature set-point, the rest of the body gets confused and feels like it needs to meet that higher temperature. You feel cold because technically you are colder than your body’s new set-point. In turn, the body works to generate heat to warm itself by contracting and relaxing muscles, hence the shivering.

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