What are the Most Common Causes of Chills and Fever?

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  • Written By: Alex Tree
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 17 March 2020
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Influenza, pneumonia, and the common cold are some of the most common causes of chills and fever. These conditions affect millions of people every year, with pneumonia being the most serious and potentially fatal. Among the three, influenza is the only illness that can be vaccinated against, though there is no stopping the virus if a person already has it. Pneumonia, a condition that can affect both humans and animals, is mostly dangerous to those who are already weak. Lastly, the common cold is an illness the vast majority of people are familiar with, and it can sometimes cause chills and fever in addition to the typical symptoms.

One condition that causes chills and fever most commonly is influenza. In addition to chills and fever, it often presents with general body aches and fatigue as well as cough. Due to the similarities between some symptoms of influenza and the common cold, also known as acute viral rhinopharyngitis, these two conditions are sometimes mistaken for one another. The influenza virus is most typically propagated through the air due to sneezing and coughing, but can also be transmitted through other forms of direct and indirect contact. Many people choose to vaccinate themselves yearly against prevalent forms of the influenza virus, as it can be especially lethal to people who have suboptimal health.


Pneumonia is essentially a condition that results in one or both lungs becoming inflamed. It has various causes, including parasites, fungi, and bacteria. Cough, fever, and pain in the chest are some symptoms of pneumonia, but the condition can also present with chills. Pneumonia is a life-threatening condition that should be treated as soon as possible, and it is important not to dismiss these symptoms as something less urgent. It is most dangerous to the very old and the very young, but anyone can be threatened by this illness.

While the common cold does not always have chills and fever as symptoms, it is a strong possibility. Other symptoms of a cold are a mild cough, runny nose, and sneezing. A person with a cold may also experience minor muscle aches and general fatigue. If the person does not experience fever and chills or muscle soreness, he or she might actually be suffering from allergies rather than the common cold. There is no cure for the common cold, but it normally goes away on its own without any serious complications.


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