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Sweat-Management Tips for Students & Families

After varying amounts of remote learning and learning breaks, many students from kindergarten to college are back at school. For some, unfortunately, avoiding COVID-19 and re-adjusting to in-person classes aren't the only challenges – they may also need to manage excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis, which is a medical condition that often begins during childhood or adolescence and affects nearly 5% of people.

With the right support, though, students who experience excessive sweating can see improvements in their sweating and day-to-day lives. According to Dr. David Pariser (a co-founder of the International Hyperhidrosis Society), while hyperhidrosis is the #1 dermatological disease in terms of negatively affecting a person's quality of life, it’s also #1 in having the most dramatically positive impact when treated. “When hyperhidrosis is caught early,” says Pariser, “the life of a young person can be literally changed."

To jumpstart that change and help students with excessive sweating to manage their symptoms as well as their syllabi, we’ve got these useful school tips...

Ask for Accommodations

If a student has to take the time to wipe their hands or brow during tests, they may need extra time for such assessments. Talk to teachers and administrators about ways to remove obstacles to success. Perhaps typed work instead of handwritten work? Or a painting in lieu of a drawing? iMovies to replace in-front-of-the-class oral presentations? While previous generations of hyperhidrosis sufferers may have suffered in silence, now’s the time to speak up and break the cycle. 

Take School Supplies to the Next Level

Students need a range of tools to succeed and the right supplies can help make extreme sweating less distracting, embarrassing, and physically damaging to assignments, technology, and gear. Here are some ideas:

  • Choose thicker paper products and darker pencils like #1 pencils. These help keep writing from smudging.  (Note: Check with your teacher first as certain tests may require the use of a #2 pencil.)
  • Add pencil grippers - the foam absorbs sweat and keeps pencils from slipping through slick fingers. 
  • Look for erasers that are in “click sticks” so they stay dry and functional.
  • Recognize that permanent markers and pens are less likely to smear. 
  • Keep it cool with pocket and handheld fans
  • Make wiping sweaty hands or foreheads easier with small, absorbent towels that fit discreetly in pockets – great for inside that front pocket of a hoodie. Waffle weaves tend to be most effective.  Or, sew a piece of terry cloth to the inside of pockets to help dry sweaty hands.
  • Laminate when possible or choose plastic notebook covers, book covers and folders so they won’t get soggy from sweating. 
  • Put the best foot forward. Add affordable, absorbent shoe-liners to nearly any footwear, discounts are available. A shoe-dryer is another useful item for plantar hyperhidrosis sufferers. It can quickly dry sweat-soaked shoes so they are ready for the next day. Or, consider buying multiple pairs of the same shoes so they can be rotated every other day. 
  • Be tech smart. Look for waterproof keyboard protectors, screen protectors, and stylus “pens” to use on touchscreens. 
  • Make the most of gloves. Cotton gloves can help manage sweaty hands during key tasks (pack extras). There are also non-slip finger sleeves for touch screens. We’ve even seen half-gloves that help prevent papers from getting smeared. 
  • Use your head. Helmet and hat liners can absorb sweat in baseball hats or in bike or sports helmets.
  • Think fashion and function. Light, flowing layers, darker colors, and large prints all help to hide sweat marks. Consider absorbing underlayers such as those from Ejis, NanoDri, and Thompson Tee. All three companies, as well as others, offer discounts through our website.
  • See double. Multiples of the same uniform or outfit can be helpful for quick changes during the day that no one will notice. 
  • Upgrade laundry detergent. Hi-tech fabrics can get smelly -- choose a biofilm buster designed for stinky clothing if this is an issue. And save 90% in energy consumption (the planet will thank you) when you do your laundry in cold water and still get the clean you need using a cold wash specialized detergent.
  • Don’t forget dorm rooms. College students have a lot of independence, but they still need more of our help than they’d like to admit. Stock them up with antiperspirants if necessary; seek cooling, moisture-wicking sheets or a cooling system for the bed if night sweating is an issue; advocate for campus health services to be proactive in helping hyperhidrosis sufferers; and facilitate medical treatment if sweating is interfering with education.
  • Mask-up and mask often, with extras. If a mask get damp from sweating and breathing, it's important to swap them out for fresh ones. Look for breathable, cool fabrics like 100% cotton. Cotton offers ventilation and avoids moisture-trapping. 

There are many more products out there to help young people manage the day-to-day hassles of living with excessive sweating. From strong, versatile antiperspirants to iontophoresis, you can find useful items at discounted prices on our Fan Fave Products page

Remember the Big Picture

Of course, while the right supplies can be a huge help, they don’t solve a sweating problem. Hyperhidrosis is, after all, a medical condition. So, after the appropriate pencils, papers and book covers are purchased, consider addressing things at the source, too.

  1. Make time to discuss sweating. It might feel embarrassing, but excessive sweating is something that needs to be talked about in order to be managed. Listening to our podcasts can help get conversations started.
  2. Recognize the signs. Sometimes they are obvious. Wet footprints on the floor from plantar hyperhidrosis… Smeared homework and clammy hand-holding with palmar hyperhidrosis… Drenched clothing from axillary hyperhidrosis... But other times hyperhidrosis symptoms can be hidden. Bulky clothing and dark colors can disguise sweat marks. Avoiding activities can avoid embarrassment. Learn more about how excessive sweating is diagnosed here.
  3. Find a knowledgeable clinician and explore all the options. There are ways to treat excessive sweating in young people. A pediatrician or a pediatric dermatologist can help. Use our Clinician Finder to locate a hyperhidrosis-savvy healthcare provider. Explore all the current treatment options on our website and, remember, combinations of treatments are a great option, too. (For more tips on how to find hyperhidrosis care, check out this blog.)

The young people living with excessive sweating don’t need to struggle alone as many did in the past. Huge thanks to all the parents, teachers, coaches, school nurses, and pediatric as well as adolescent healthcare providers making a difference for our kids every day. 

Want to do more? Tell your school nurses and other healthcare providers for youth about all of the useful information available on SweatHelp.org. The International Hyperhidrosis Society provides reliable, practical information about hyperhidrosis, its ramifications in school and out, current treatment options, and quick links to the latest hyperhidrosis research published in medical journals.

Fist bump to the ~76 million young people making the most of school. We’re rooting for you!