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What are the Most Common Causes of Nausea with Chills?

By Laura Evans
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Nausea is a variation of dizziness or “whirliness” that a person feels before vomiting, although nausea does not always result in vomiting. Chills occur when muscles contract and relax in an attempt to increase body temperature. In many cases, chills and fevers go hand in hand. Among the common medical conditions that may cause a person may experience nausea with chills are bacterial gastroenteritis, mononucleosis, and the flu.

Bacterial gastroenteritis is a form of food poisoning that affects the stomach and the intestines. Bacteria that can cause this stomach and intestine inflammation include E. coli, salmonella, staphylococcus, and clostridium. This infection occurs when people eat foods such as eggs, baked goods, dairy products, seafood, or meat that has been improperly handled. Improper food-handing methods that might lead to contamination include improper washing of food, improper processing of food, and handling food with hands that are contaminated with bacteria.

In addition to nausea with chills, a person who has bacterial gastroenteritis may experience vomiting and bloody diarrhea. Other symptoms can vary according to the bacteria that caused the infection. Treatments include keeping the body hydrated with fluids and electrolytes.

Mononucleosis, also called the kissing disease, is a viral infection that typically occurs in teenagers between the ages of 15 and 18, although adults can also contract mono. It is passed from person to person through saliva, through sneezing, or through using contaminated dishes or utensils. Symptoms in addition to nausea with chills can include sore throat, swollen glands, and fatigue. Treatments for mono are designed to attack the symptoms and include getting rest, drinking a lot of fluids, and taking over-the-counter pain relievers. This medical condition's symptoms can last for up to three months.

Influenza, or the flu, is an all-encompassing term that describes a viral infection that affects the respiratory system, including the nose, the lungs, the bronchial system, and the throat. Every year, tens of millions of people get the flu in the United States while about 36,000 people pass away from complications from the infection. In addition to nausea with chills, a person who has the flu may vomit, may have headaches, and may have a dry cough. Most people are able to ride out the flu through bed rest and drinking lots of fluids.

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Discussion Comments
By anon982862 — On Dec 23, 2014

Last night I had a sudden onset of nausea. For about half an hour, I was certain I was going to vomit. I started to feel cold and sweat a little. At one point I tried to sit up but felt a bit dizzy so I lay down again. After about half an hour, I fell asleep, then woke up feeling fine. Still don't know what caused it.

By Primemobi — On Dec 12, 2013
Nausea with headache can occur during migraines or stomach viruses. This can be difficult to treat because pain medication to alleviate the headache can cause further stomach upset. The use of prescribed medications such as zofran or phenegren are very effective in treating nausea. Some medications are available in gel form, suppositories, or sublinguals if swallowing a pill is not possible at the time.
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