From Block Time to Coding, Don't Let Sweating Get in the Way
Press Contact: Angela Ballard, RN, International Hyperhidrosis Society, AngelaRN@SweatHelp.org
August 13, 2019: With summer winding down, students from kindergarten to college are gearing up to head back to school. For many, unfortunately, coursework isn’t the only challenge ahead -- they’ve got to manage the medical condition hyperhidrosis (Hh) or excessive sweating, as well.
Hyperhidrosis issues at school are relatively common, in fact, based on prevalence data the International Hyperhidrosis Society (IHhS) presented to the American Academy of Dermatology, ~2.5 million or 17% of all teens experience excessive, uncontrollable sweating. Other data shows that hyperhidrosis has negative quality-of-life impacts equal to or greater than severe acne, is associated with much higher rates of anxiety and depression, and is more common than peanut allergies.
To help students who struggle with excessive sweating to better manage their symptoms and their syllabi, IHhS recommends the following:
Take School Supplies to the Next Level
The right school supplies can help make extreme sweating less distracting, embarrassing, and damaging (to skin and self-confidence as well as to assignments, technology, and gear.)
- Choose thicker paper products and darker pencils. These help keep writing in its place. Try banana leaf paper and #1 pencils.
- Add pencil grippers to your cart - the foam absorbs sweat and keep pencils, pens and paint brushes 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.
- Wipe smart with small, absorbent towels that fit discreetly in pockets. Waffle weaves tend to be most effective.
- Laminate whenever possible or choose plastic notebook covers, book covers and folders so they won’t get soggy in the hands.
- Put the best foot forward. A home shoe-dryer will speedily dry shoes so they are ready for the next day These are often marketed to hunters and skiers but they are great for plantar (foot) hyperhidrosis sufferers, too. 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.
- Give gloves another season (or three). Cotton gloves can help manage sweaty hands during certain tasks (pack extras and wash at the end of the day). There are also non-slip finger sleeves (used by gamers but great for Hh sufferers, too). We’ve even seen half-gloves (originally developed for lefties) that help prevent papers from getting smeared.
- Use your head. Helmet and hat liners can absorb sweat day-to-day or during sports and cycling.
- Consider fashion function. Clothing and color choices can make a difference. Light, flowing layers, darker colors, and large prints all help to hide sweat marks. Cotton and linen boost breathability. Moisture-wicking, hi-tech sportswear can be a good choice, but these fabrics don’t absorb well and sweat can “run” or “drip.” If hi-tech fabrics are a requirement, consider absorbing underlayers such as those from Ejis, NanoDri, and Thompson Tee. All three companies offer discounts through the IHhS Fan Faves program.
- See double. Multiples of uniforms and favorite items can be helpful for quick changes during the day.
- Upgrade laundry detergent. Hi-tech fabrics can get smelly -- choose a special laundry detergent designed for athletic clothing if this is an issue in your house.
There are many more products out there to help manage the day-to-day hassles of living with excessive sweating. From strong, versatile antiperspirants to iontophoresis devices and shoe inserts, you can find many useful items at discounted prices from the IHhS Fan Faves page.
Ask for Accommodations
If students need to take the time to wipe their hands or brows during tests, they may need extra time to complete assessments. Talk to teachers and administrators about ways to remove obstacles to success. Perhaps typed work instead of handwritten work is acceptable? Or a painting in lieu of a drawing? Videos to replace in-front-of-the-class oral presentations? Think out of the box.
Previous generations of hyperhidrosis sufferers often suffered in silence and felt held back; you can speak up, speak candidly and help break the cycle.
Beyond Pencils and Paper, 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, remember to tackle the big stuff, too.
- Make time to discuss sweating. It might feel weird or embarrassing, but excessive sweating needs to be talked about in order to be managed. Listening to IHhS podcasts can help get conversations started.
- Recognize the signs. Sometimes they are obvious. Wet footprints across 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. Staying home avoids embarrassment. Giving up on activities that involve close contact with others (like sports) prevents being “found out.” Learn more about how excessive sweating is diagnosed from the IHhS website www.SweatHelp.org.
- Find a knowledgeable physician and explore all the options. There are ways to treat excessive sweating. A pediatrician or a pediatric dermatologist can help. Use the IHhS Physician Finder to locate a hyperhidrosis-savvy healthcare provider. Explore all the current treatment options on www.SweatHelp.org and, remember, combinations of treatments are a great option, too. (For tips on how to find hyperhidrosis care, and more, check out the IHhS blogs.)
The young people living with excessive sweating today 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 out there making a difference.
Want to do more? Tell school nurses and other healthcare providers for youth about all of the useful information available on www.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 next school bus you see: 76 million young people are about to head back into the classroom. Their future is our future and IHhS is rooting for them.
Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition that affects approximately 4.8% of the population. It results in extreme, uncontrollable sweating and:
- Is associated with much higher rates of anxiety & depression
- Has negative quality-of-life impacts equal to or greater than severe acne & psoriasis
- Increases risk of skin infections by 300%
- Is more common than peanut allergies
- Manifests unexpectedly and often with disabling symptoms that last for hours
- Is stigmatized while being under-recognized, under-diagnosed, under-treated
- Forces people to develop complicated, time-consuming and expensive routines of treatments, hiding, avoiding, drying, absorbing, and more – all in an attempt to live a “normal” daily life and to feel dry, “put together” and accepted
- Causes sweat to drip down elbows, off fingers, into the eyes, and more
- Leads to sufferers feeling cold, slippery, unattractive, insecure, and emotionally drained
- Drenches and damages shoes, clothes, papers, and mainstay tech tools like smartphones
Yet, only 1 in 4 hyperhidrosis sufferers is ever diagnosed, and far fewer are cared for effectively with best practices.
There is not yet a cure for hyperhidrosis, and current treatment options do not work for everyone or for every location of hyperhidrosis sweating. Additionally, many healthcare providers continue to be under-educated in effective strategies for hyperhidrosis diagnosis and care.
About the International Hyperhidrosis Society
The International Hyperhidrosis Society (IHhS) was founded in 2003 by a team of dedicated advocates working alongside physicians respected worldwide for achievements in hyperhidrosis research and treatment. Today, IHhS remains the only independent, non-profit, global organization working to improve the quality of life for those affected by excessive sweating. IHhS’ mission focuses on reducing the symptoms, anxiety and social stigma associated with excessive sweating. Its programs strive to improve hyperhidrosis awareness, education, research, and advocacy. Visit www.SweatHelp.org to learn more and to stay up-to-date with the hyperhidrosis news blog. Connect on Facebook @SweatingStopsHere, Twitter @WeKnowSweat and Instagram @WeKnowSweat. You can also find the International Hyperhidrosis Society on YouTube and wherever you enjoy podcasts.