chill(redirected from chills)
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a sensation of cold that is caused by spasms of the superficial blood vessels. Chill is also accompanied by skin-muscle spasms, a phenomenon known as gooseflesh, and by muscle tremors, which arise mostly in the masticatory muscles and also in the muscles of the shoulder girdle, spine, and extremities. Chill often occurs as fever begins to rise in many pathological conditions, including traumas and infections. While experiencing chill, the body loses heat at a lower rate and produces heat at a higher rate; the increased heat production is due to muscle contraction, and after the body temperature rises, the chill usually ceases. Chill also occurs at the height of a fever if the body temperature fluctuates sharply.
Nervous, as opposed to physiological, chill is only a subjective sensation that occurs, for example, in neuroses. Chill is a normal protective reaction in response to exposure to cold. It can also occur in excitable persons under conditions of fear or agitation.