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Abnormal Sweating in Children: Care Instructions


Sweating is the body's way of cooling down and getting rid of some chemicals. But some children have a condition called hyperhidrosis that makes them sweat too much. It can affect any part of your child's body, especially the head, armpits, hands, and feet. Sometimes the sweat mixes with bacteria on the skin and causes armpits and feet to smell bad.

It may upset your child to have a sweaty face and palms or to have smelly feet and shoes. Some children seem to be born with this condition, while some others may sweat too much because of anxiety. You may be able to help your child reduce the amount they sweat by lowering stress in your child's life. Some children find that antiperspirants help, and your child can take steps at home that will help with smelly feet. If your child still has too much sweating, your doctor may recommend other treatments.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • If your doctor prescribed medicine, have your child take it exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse advice line if you think your child is having a problem with a medicine. You will get more details on the specific medicines your doctor prescribes.
  • Have your child bathe 1 or 2 times a day with soap and water.
  • Have your child use a deodorant with antiperspirant. It might help to put it on at night before bed.
  • Have your child wear clothing made of material that lets the skin breathe. Cotton, wool, silk, and linen are good choices. For exercising, have your child wear material that removes (wicks) moisture from the skin.
  • Have your child keep an extra shirt in a school locker.
  • Attach pads (underarm or dress shields) to the armpit area of your child's clothing to absorb sweat. You can buy these pads in sports or clothing stores.
  • Let your child's shoes dry out for a day after they are worn. If possible, set them in a place where the sun will shine on them. That will help kill the bacteria that cause the smell.
  • Have your child change socks at least 1 time a day. Wash the socks after each wearing.
  • Have your child put foot powder or talc in their shoes and socks and on their feet. Put inserts in your child's shoes to absorb some of the sweat. Have your child go barefoot for a while each day to let your child's feet dry out.
  • Give your child fewer hot drinks, such as hot chocolate and tea. These types of drinks make you sweat more.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • Your child continues to sweat too much, and it bothers your child.

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.