4

When waking up with a sore throat, stuffed nose and propensity to feel colder than normal, you can be unsure exactly what infectious vector caused it.

Some people's normal modus operandi would be to turn on the heater, wear more blankets available and can still feel pretty cold.

Sometimes, after piling them all on you can feel pretty warm even despite the illness.

The issue is that I know from first hand experience that this degree of heating would have me bursting out of the room, away from blankets and heater, desperate for fresh air and the temperature relief of a colder environment if my internal thermostat wasn't malfunctioning.

So I was wondering whether the feeling of coldness is primarily due to the body being less effective at producing heat, or if the coldness is entirely mental, because if it's the latter, can you suffer hyperthermia or dehydration in your sleep?

5
  • 2
    Feeling cold is a normal response to a high fever.
    – Carey Gregory
    May 31 '18 at 21:52
  • @Carey Gregory Yup, and I normally just wind up feeling cold when I have a fever. Now that I've actually managed to modify my environment enough to not feel cold even with a fever, I'm just wondering if my normal safety mechanisms for excessive body heat are still working.
    – Bruno
    May 31 '18 at 22:43
  • 2
    Yes, they're still working, although if you're very ill fevers can reach dangerous temperatures. The trouble here is your edging into medical advice. We need to keep this question generalized and not about you.
    – Carey Gregory
    May 31 '18 at 23:42
  • Your body is producing more energy when you have a fever, but your body design that has evolved over hundreds of millions of years, has not taken into account that in today's world we don't need to worry about food. So, what you have is an extremely well designed system that takes care of itself well, including its own energy needs in a harsh world where there are no supermarkets, no refrigerators etc. etc. So, no wonder that when the system decides that to fight an infection it needs to increase its temperature, it will also take measures to increase energy efficiency. Jun 3 '18 at 13:32
  • Fever results from a change in the body's thermostatic set-point. This results in shivering, shaking and increased tissue metabolism in order to generate heat and increase body temperature. As part of this process the feverish patient feels cold because, relative to the homeostatic set-point, they are despite a core temperature that is normal or raised. It is also worth noting that some patients, especially the elderly, experience a drop in core temperature with sepsis.
    – JWC
    Jun 20 '18 at 14:12

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.