Can you have chills with the 'flu?

A family friend, who is a physician, once told me that if an adult has a fever with chills, it is always something more than a flu and the person should be seen immediately. In my own experience this is true, but then, I’m only one person. I know people who’ve said they had chills with the flu. Does anyone know the truth about illnesses that can give you the chills, and the explanation thereof? Thanks!

The “chills” is just a sense of shivering when your body is trying to raise its temperature to the point of a fever. It doesn’t matter what’s giving you the fever, any sudden increase in temperature gives you the chills. I don’t understand what this doctor was saying. But IANAD.

I agree with previous post. Shivvers help raise your temperature. If you feel cold enough to shivver, but it isn’t cold where you are, you’re getting a fever.

Chills is more than just shivers. You do shiver from chills but you also feel cold, so terribly cold there aren’t enough blankets to warm you. The flu I had back in my sophomore year of high school gave me chills interspersed with hot flashes. So I would roll up in blankets and still feel icy cold, and minutes later I’d throw the blankets off because I’d feel blisteringly hot. It was back and forth, back and forth all day.

I read somewhere that this effect is the flu screwing with your body’s natural thermostat. It really used more scientific terminology than that, but that was the gist of it.


In my experience fever with chills is not a consistent indicator of severe disease conpared to fever without chills

I’ve had flu three times in my life, each time with what you describe as “the chills”.

As in, alternating burning fever and shivering so much that you think you are going to pull a muscle. On one occasion, sweating buckets, my wife had to change my bedclothes three times daily as they were soaked within hours. On day three I got up to try to go to the toilet and as soon as I stood up with the covers off I started shuddering so much I fell over.
I got back into bed, I didn’t need to go that badly.

Four days until I could eat anything, one week in bed, two weeks for my joint pain to go, a month until things stopped smelling weird.

That’s the flu for you, believe me, you don’t need to go looking for anything too much worse. I can easily see how it is a killer.

Speaking as both a physician and someone who’s had influenza, I am willing to state unequivocally that you can indeed (and folks often do) have chills with influenza.

BTW, the CDC agrees with me. :slight_smile:

When I have the flu .I wear a sweat suit, climb into bed and use every cover in the house, plus two beagles and I shiver away.

I know I read somewhere (no cite, but it seems to fit with what the Wiki cite said and Quadgop) that getting fever and chills is part of your body’s immune system. Many of the bad bugs and whatnot can only live in a very narrow temperature range and one’s immune system is trying to move one out of that range.

It doesn’t mean you can’t have dangerously high fevers etc.

Okay! Thanks for all the answers! :slight_smile:
I hate the flu too. But I hate meningitis more.

Or a goose is walking over your grave. D’uh! Let’s try and stay scientific here, people.