Difference between Rigors and Chills

Key Difference: Rigor occurs because the patient’s body is effectively shivering in a physiological attempt to increase the body temperature to the new set point. Chills mainly occur at the beginning of the infection and are usually associated with fever. Chills can be defined as a way of feeling extremely cold.

One of the great enemies of humans is fever. Fever has been recognized as one of the hallmarks of clinical disease since ancient times. As soon as a fever occurs, what happens to everyone? What do they suffer with? Most of the people suffer with coldness. Thus, rigors and chills both are used to define the feeling of coldness, which occurs during a high fever. However, the meaning of both the terms is quite different from each other.

According to Oxford Dictionaries, the word rigor is defined as “a sudden feeling of cold with shivering accompanied by a rise in temperature, often with copious sweating, at the onset or height of a fever.” However, rigor is the more unpleasant and difficult condition that one can experience. In short, it is a tremor caused by the chill. Rigor occurs because the patient’s body is effectively shivering in a physiological attempt to increase the body temperature to the new set point. There are 104 conditions associated with chills and rigors. Rigor is more dangerous than chills.

According to Merriam-webster.com, the word chills is defined as “a feeling of being cold”, “a disagreeable sensation of coldness”, or “a cold feeling that is a degree of cold that can be felt and that is usually unpleasant.” However, chills can be defined to as a way of feeling extremely cold. It refers to feeling cold after an exposure to a cold environment. Chills mainly occur at the beginning of the infection and are usually associated with fever. Fever may cause the patient to experience chills, and in some cases life threatening conditions. Chills result from involuntary muscle contractions to generate heat to raise body temperature as the prevailing body temperature is perceived as low.

Comparison between Rigors and Chills:

 

Chills

Rigors

Description

Chills mean that the body is trying to raise the temperature. It can be defined to as a way of feeling extremely cold.

Rigor is the more unpleasant and difficult condition that one can experience.

Causes

  • Using a cold bath during fever does not work; in fact it can cause chills that actually raise the body’s temperature.
  • Exposure to a cold environement.
  • Viral and bacterial infections
  • Colds
  • Strept throat
  • Influenza
  • Inflammatory diseases
  • Fever accompanied with rigor is seen in conditions like malaria, kala azar, urinary tract infections, infective endocarditic, pneumonia, etc.
  • Viral gastroenteritis
  • Urinary tract infection such as pyelonephritis
  • Meningitis
  • Infectious mononucleosis

Considerations

  • Goose bumps
  • Chills may occur at the beginning of an infection and are usually associated with fever.
  • Goose bumps
  • Shivering

 

Symptoms

  • Symptoms of chills are the way that the body generates heat when it feels cold.
  • They usually precede a fever, the body’s method for defending itself by raising its temperature to fight a virus.
  • Insufficient protection from cold exposure.

Symptoms suggestive of local infection, particularly respiratory infections, urinary infections, billary disease, and gastrointestinal infections.

Relieve

  • Replace wet blankets with warm, dry blankets.
  • Keep the patient away from drafts.
  • Keep the patient’s room warm.
  • To stay hydrated, sip your favourite liquids.
  • Sponging off with warm water may also give you relief.

Remedies

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
  • Naproxen (Aleve)

Image Courtesy: people.uwec.edu, trialx.com

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