Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What could cause long-term fever and chills?"
fever/chills ( on and off for 12 years, the same problem headeache ( after IV antibiotics) I am overweight ulcer in leg
Fever and chills often go hand in hand. When you have a fever, it signals an inflammation or infection in your body. A part of your body responds to infection by raising your body temperature to help kill infectious pathogens or prevent their spread because most pathogens causing infection survive best at a normal body temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, and increasing a body temperature to simply 1 degree can cause a significant stress for them. During a fever, chills are triggered by rapid contraction and relaxation of your muscles to increase body temperature. Together fever and chills can be caused mostly by fairly benign conditions, such as a cold. What you have is called cyclical fever and chills, which can be caused by chronic infections that your immune system is having trouble fighting off, such as tuberculosis, HIV and malaria (which may not be likely unless you've traveled out of the country recently and contract it). In some cases, a fever can be a sign of a life-threatening condition that includes an active hepatitis, meningitis, leukemia, or lymphoma (cancer of the immune system) to name a few. Since countless other conditions may have fever as a symptom, I suggest that you seek prompt medical care or talk with a primary care physician about your symptoms. After a thorough medical history, examination, and some blood or diagnostic tests, many conditions can be ruled out. Good luck.