Photo by Hill Street Studios

Shaking chills, also known as rigors or uncontrollable shivering, is the body's response to a high fever caused by a severe infection.

Shaking chills should be taken seriously. It is sometimes the only sign that there is a raging infection inside your body.

If you experience shaking chills after surgery or an outpatient procedure, you should notify your doctor or a healthcare professional immediately.

If you have a thermometer (everyone should have one at home), take your temperature so you can tell your doctor how high it is. Tell your doctor you recently had an outpatient procedure such as a root canal or a tooth extraction.

Chills usually accompanies a high fever (above 103 F) in response to a severe infection, such as sepsis. Fever occurs when your brain increases your body temperature to kill invading germs.

The brain's attempt to regulate the body temperature causes the patient to feel cold. Shivering and chills occur when the muscles contract to bring the body temperature up.

If the shaking chills stop - but your temperature continues to rise - you should go to an emergency room to be evaluated further. You should never ignore shaking chills.

A high fever, if sustained, can lead to organ damage or febrile seizures.

You might break out in a fine sweat if your temperature returns to normal.

This has been your Medical Minute.
 

More Info On the Web

What You Should Know About the Chills | Healthline

Why Do I Have Cold Chills? | WebMD

Chills: Symptoms, Signs, Causes & Treatment | Medicine Net
 

DISCLAIMER

Any medical information published on this blog is for your general information only and is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice. You should not take any action before consulting with your personal physician or a health care provider. Sandrarose.com and its affiliates cannot be held liable for any damages incurred by following information found on this blog.

Photo: Zerbor/Getty Images

What is Sepsis?

Sepsis is a life-threatening immune response to an infection. Sepsis occurs when an infection somewhere in the body -- the skin, lungs, urinary tract, etc. -- triggers a strong inflammatory immune response that causes the blood vessels to leak, leading to low blood volume, multiple organ failure, and death.

What Causes Sepsis?

Sepsis is most commonly caused by a bacterial infection. But it can also be caused by a virus, fungus or protozoan infections in the brain, urinary tract, skin and abdominal organs.

The most common causes of sepsis is trauma, surgery, or an invasive procedure such as dental work.

Dentists normally prescribe antibiotics before a dental appointment to decrease the bacteria in the mouth. If the patient is not prescribed antibiotics, the bacteria that normally resides on teeth and in the gums can enter the bloodstream, travel to the heart and colonize the heart valve. The patient usually doesn't know he is sick with a deadly infection in his heart until months later.

Without quick treatment, sepsis can lead to heart damage, organ failure and death.

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Rapid breathing
  • Cough
  • Low blood pressure (septic shock)
  • Shaking chills
  • Shortness of breath
  • Increased heart rate
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Cold, clammy (wet) skin
  • Confusion
  • Low urine output
  • Risk Factors

    Risk factors include young or old age, or weak immune system caused by diabetes, cancer, trauma, or burns. Sometimes children and the elderly will show no symptoms or the fever is low grade.

    Sepsis is a medical emergency. If you think you have sepsis or if you feel sick days after having surgery or an outpatient procedure such as dental work, call your doctor or healthcare provider.

    Always ask the doctor of healthcare provider: "Do you think this could lead to sepsis?"

    Educate yourself so you know which questions to ask your doctor or healthcare provider.

    Use WebMD's symptoms checker. Remember that most symptoms should fit a familiar pattern so the doctor can properly diagnose you.

    This has been your Medical Minute.
     

    More Info On the Web

    What is Sepsis? | CDC.gov

    Sepsis | Healthline.com

    Signs and Symptoms of Sepsis | Mayo Clinic
     

    DISCLAIMER

    Any medical information published on this blog is for your general information only and is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice. You should not take any action before consulting with your personal physician or a health care provider. Sandrarose.com and its affiliates cannot be held liable for any damages incurred by following information found on this blog.

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    Photo: ABC/Good Morning America

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