What is feeling cold?

Feeling cold is a perception of decreased body temperature or the feeling that your body is colder than usual. You can feel cold even when your temperature is normal or high, such as when you experience fever and chills. You can also feel cold when you your body temperature is below normal (hypothermia). You may also just feel cold because you are in a cooler environment, though some people have a cold intolerance.

Chills can occur with an infection, making you shiver and feel cold even though your body temperature may be normal or even elevated. Chills can happen to anyone and are most common at the start or end of an infection. Chills with a normal or elevated temperature should not be treated with warm clothing or blankets, as this can raise the body temperature to a dangerous level.

If your body temperature falls below the normal range, even by just a few degrees, you have hypothermia. Hypothermia can be dangerous, especially the farther your body temperature falls. If your temperature falls below 96 degrees, you should seek immediate medical care. You can treat mild or severe hypothermia until help arrives by warming the person slowly with blankets and making sure the person is dry.

When you are very sensitive to cold weather, you may have cold intolerance. Cold intolerance can be a sign that your body has a hard time warming itself. Common causes of cold intolerance include anorexia, anemia and hypothyroidism. If you find even mildly cold temperatures difficult to bear, you should contact your health care provider.

Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if your body temperature falls below 96 degrees Fahrenheit (hypothermia), or if you have been exposed to cold weather for several hours, have lost feeling in your fingers or toes, or have severe abdominal pain or difficulty breathing.

If your feeling cold is persistent or causes you concern, seek prompt medical care.

SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with feeling cold?

A variety of symptoms may occur with feeling cold. Associated symptoms vary greatly depending on the underlying cause of the cold feeling.... Read more about feeling coldsymptoms

CAUSES

What causes feeling cold?

Feeling cold is most often due to actually being in a cold environment. In some cases, such as with infections, you may feel cold despite being quite warm. Other reasons for feeling cold include hypothyroidism, anemia, bacterial or viral infection, and hypothermia.... Read more about feeling coldcauses

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Infections and Contagious Diseases


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