Helping Kids with Hyperhidrosis

Around the world, an estimated 365 million people suffer from hyperhidrosis. Hyperhidrosis is a condition that causes an individual to sweat excessively, regardless of environmental triggers such as heat. Many of the people around the world who are affected by hyperhidrosis are children (age 18 and under), and unfortunately, the negative effects of hyperhidrosis on these children can be quite detrimental. As a parent, it is a good idea to know everything you can about hyperhidrosis so you can help your child the most.
Helping Kids with Hyperhidrosis

To evaluate whether or not your child or a child you know may have hyperhidrosis, please consider the following three qualifications:

1. Your child’s sweat is not dependent on the weather or intense physical activity.

Most people will sweat when the temperature is hot or while undergoing intense activity. Although there are steps that can help reduce this form of sweating, kids with hyperhidrosis will typically sweat even when the temperature is not hot and while they are not very physically active.

If you suspect your child has hyperhidrosis, it is important to note that weather can also impact kids with hyperhidrosis, even though it is not the cause of their sweating. Humidity can make hyperhidrosis and sweating feel worse and may be uncomfortable for your child. On the other side of the spectrum, excessive sweating in cold conditions can cause children to experience clammy hands and feet. This does not mean that all kids with who are affected by these climate conditions have hyperhidrosis, it just means that parents may want to limit exposure to these conditions if a child already has a diagnosis and complains of being uncomfortable in them.

2. Your child sweats intensely in a specific area or areas.

Over 90% of hyperhidrosis cases are considered primary focal hyperhidrosis. In primary focal hyperhidrosis, the individual sweats excessively in one or a few areas of the body. These areas include the hands (palmar hyperhidrosis),the feet (plantar hyperhidrosis),and the underarms (axillary hyperhidrosis), and the head and face (craniofacial hyperhidrosis). Often times, primary focal hyperhidrosis poses a unique challenge to treat because the affected areas cannot be easily controlled with stick-style antiperspirants. But don't worry, there are many different treatments for sweaty hands and sweaty feet as well as a variety of treatments for axillary hyperhidrosis.

3. Traditional antiperspirants are not helping.

One clear sign of hyperhidrosis is that regular strength antiperspirants are not significantly reducing your child’s sweat. Most antiperspirants use one of several aluminum compounds to control sweat, and the standard amount of this compound in the antiperspirant varies. Most standard antiperspirants utilize between 2.5% and 12.5% of an active aluminum ingredient to reduce sweat. If your current antiperspirant percentage contains an aluminum percentage in this range and cannot reduce the sweat to a manageable amount, your child most likely both has hyperhidrosis and needs a stronger antiperspirant with a higher percentage of an aluminum compound. Sometimes, doctors will suggest using a stronger over-the-counter antiperspirant before moving on to a prescription strength product. It can be tough to choose the right over-the-counter antiperspirant, and because children are especially sensitive, it is a good idea to ask a doctor for a recommendation. Some people have wondered ifaluminum antiperspirants are safe for the general public and if they cause cancer. This was a concern that was circulated about a decade ago that has been found to be untrue.[1][2][3]

When Does Hyperhidrosis Appear in Kids?

Most data surrounding and research into adolescent hyperhidrosis shows that hyperhidrosis typically emerges between the ages 11-17. Cases of hyperhidrosis in children before age 11 are significantly less common than cases of hyperhidrosis in children over age 11. Approximately 1.6% of children under 11 in the USA suffer from hyperhidrosis, whereas different scientific journals estimate the older children and teen population hyperhidrosis rate to be between 5-18%. If your child is struggling with severe sweating before age 11, managing their hyperhidrosis with a doctor may be a beneficial next step since excessive sweating at such an early age with no apparent cause, or diaphoresis, can be indicative of an underlying medical issue.[1]

The Three Best Ways to Stop Kids from Sweating

The best thing any person can do to help their kids manage sweating is to help the child form good habits. Habits are incredibly important for managing hyperhidrosis at home, especially for children. If you can instill the following three habits in your child's life, the path to reducing sweat will be much easier.

1. Instruct your Child to Apply Their Antiperspirant at Night

Although many people believe antiperspirant should be applied in the morning (often after a shower), research has shown that antiperspirants tend to be much more effective when applied at night. Since antiperspirants work by breaking down into small compounds over time that block your pores from releasing sweat, the antiperspirant relies on having a dry, undisturbed skin surface to achieve maximum success. When applying antiperspirant after a shower or in the morning before the rigors of a day, your skin is either damp, exposed to the movements of your body, or both. However, applying the antiperspirant at night before bed allows the ingredients in the antiperspirant to enter the body at a time where the skin is dry and undisturbed. In the same way that a child is encouraged to brush their teeth nightly to form a good habit, helping your child establish a good habit by applying the antiperspirant every night before bed can make a large difference in reducing their sweat. [1]

2. Ensure Your Child Wears Clean Clothes.

This habit includes all clothing, especially socks, shoes, and undergarments. When sweat is allowed to build over time, the bacteria that thrive in sweaty conditions also multiples at a rapid rate. Since your clothing naturally absorbs the moisture your body produces, wearing the same clothes for a prolonged period of time can have two devastating effects. First, the clothing itself will degrade at a much faster rate when exposed to continual sweat. This is especially important for children playing sports who have hyperhidrosis.

Second, your body will be at a higher risk of developing adverse consequences as a result of sweat, such as acne and even infections like Athlete’s Foot. Children can also developed a condition that causes stinky sweat called Bromhidrosis, which will not be pleasant. Fortunately, an action as simple as changing into dry clothes can go a long way to ensure your child stays dry. There are also certain types of clothes that are better for those with excessive sweating, these clothes are made with breathable fabrics and are not restricting. Making sure your child has clean, comfortable, and practical clothing will help them deal with the excesive sweating that comes along with hyperhidrosis.[1]

3. Encourage Your Child to Keep a Logbook of Their Sweat.

Although this logbook does not have to be a formal journal, having your child write down when they sweat the most can help identify which environmental circumstances trigger their sweat. For example, if your child writes that they would sweat very much every time they have a presentation in class, you can begin to notice this trend over time and adjust the amount of anti-sweat preparation they take before their next presentation. The benefits of a sweat logbook only increase over time: as more and more data is added to the journal, the factors that cause your child to sweat like weather, anxiety, exercise, nerves, public speaking, and more will become more evident and easier to address. Hyperhidrosis and anxiety often go hand in hand, so knowing your child's triggers is beneficial. [1]

These Habits Aren’t Enough. Where Should I Go Next?

If your child’s sweat does not subside after implementing these three habits, seeking the advice of a dermatologist may be a good next step. Be sure to consult a dermatologist that has experience working with hyperhidrosis cases, particularly youth cases. There are medical treatments for children with hyperhidrosis that can help. Your dermatologist may recommend prescription-strength antiperspirants to you, as well as further treatment options like iontophoresis or botox injections for palmar and plantar hyperhidrosis. Botox is also a treatment for axillary hyperhidrosis, and it FDA approved. Since each case of hyperhidrosis varies, a dermatologist will be able to provide the best personalized treatment plan for your child.

Sources
  1. Pariser, D. M. (2014). Hyperhidrosis (4th ed., Vol. 32). Amsterdam: Elsevier Pub. Co., 2014. Retrieved
  2. Kamudoni, P., Mueller, B., Halford, J., Schouveller, A., Stacey, B., & Salek, M. (2017, June 8). The impact of hyperhidrosis on patients' daily life and quality of life: A qualitative investigation. Retrieved May 21, 2018, from https://hqlo.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12955-017-0693-x
  3. Nordqvist, C. (2017, December 21). Hyperhidrosis: Symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment. Retrieved May 14, 2018, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/182130.php
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