Why Do We Feel Cold When We Have a Fever?



Why Do We Feel Cold When We Have a Fever?

In: Biology

As a rule, we don’t sense temperature *per se.* What we sense is the differential between our body and the environment.

When we have a fever, our bodies are increasing our internal temperature in an attempt to burn out an infection. We register the *difference* between our (raised) internal temperature and the environment as “cold.”

This can be broken down into relatable interactions as follows.
If you touch something that is colder than you, it feels cold.

Also, your body is typically used to the local “room temperature” if you’ve been in it long enough to acclimate. Now your body is confused by how much colder the world feels.

It’s some what backwards, you get a fever because you’re feeling cold.
The immune system works better at a higher temperature (thought the rest of the body works worse at that temperature).
So when your body detects a bad illness, it tells a lot of things in your body that it’s currently too cold, so it does all the stuff to warm you up.
Stuff like shivering, and feeling cold so you go seek out a warm blanket.
Because you feel cold when you’re not actually cold, your body heats up, creating a fever, which helps your immune system work better to fight the illness.

Your body wants to get hotter. It makes you “feel cold” so you layer up and get under blankets, which helps it achieve the goal.