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When I get sick and have a fever, I get chills. Why do I feel cold if the fever is really making me hot?

Dear Becky.

A tiny part of your brain, called the hypothalamus (high-poh-THAL-uh-mus), does for your body what a thermostat does for your house -- it controls the temperature. When you are sick, the hypothalamus may decide that to fight the illness, your temperature should be higher than the normal 98.6 degrees, say 103 degrees. Since your temperature is really 98.6, your hypothalamus makes you begin to feel cold, which creates shaking chills, tiny muscle movements that together are like your muscles running in place. This starts to warm your body and won't stop until your temperature reaches 103 degrees.

When your fever begins to come back down, you may begin to sweat heavily. This is the body's way of cooling itself off.
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Title Annotation:Ask Doctor Cory
Author:SerVaas, Cory
Publication:Jack & Jill
Date:Jan 1, 1997
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