Hypohidrosis In Children
Put in the simplest terms possible, hypohidrosis is simply a Latin phrase for decreased perspiration. Actually, that's probably not the simplest way to say it, now that I think about it. Maybe it would be easier to say it just means that you don't sweat as much as you should. The reasons for this can vary greatly, and yes, there can be a serious underlying illness to blame. But sometimes there isn't, and that's what we're talking about today. Hypohidrosis as a freestanding symptom, if you will -- abnormally deficient sweating when everything else is functional. But please note: if you suspect that you or your child have this condition, you should see a doctor to rule out one of those illness I've just referred to. If you've already done that, read on for some signs of hypohidrosis and tips for dealing with it.
Signs Your Kid Might Have It
No sweating -- Sorry to state the obvious, but this is the main clue. The skin may be a bit shimmery and perhaps slightly damp, but sweating should be almost nonexistent. I could run outside in the Texas heat for an hour and I will not sweat. This may sound super, but it's quite the opposite.
Frequent Elevated Temperatures -- Sweating is the body's way of cooling off. If you don't sweat like a normal person, your body temperature is probably going to be slightly abnormal. My normal temperature as a child was about 99.9°. I wasn't ill, that was just my temp. Of course, this meant that I could take advantage of the school sick policy and pop in for a temp check if I wanted to go home for the day -- anything over 99° and they would send you home. Sadly, my mother caught onto this by the 3rd grade and I wasn't allowed to go home unless I was 100.5°. Ah, well.
Refusal to wear their winter coat -- Don't get me wrong, you can get cold if you have hypohidrosis. But, unless you live in the Arctic, most winter coats are overdoing it for a kid with hypohidrosis. They might like it when they first set out for school, but they'll have needed to take it off by the time they get there cos it will be way too hot. I lived in the NE as a child and we had plenty of snow in the winter; I often went without a coat or gloves and it really didn't bother me. That said, if I'd just been standing still in the snow, it would have felt cold. But walking to school was enough to make me quite hot.
Refusal to play active sports -- I did a lot of sports as a kid, but they weren't super active. I played softball, rode horses, swam -- things like that. But I hated to run (cross country, soccer, etc) because I would feel like I was having heat stroke by the time I was done. And guess what? It could have led to that -- but I didn't know I had this until I was in my 20s.
- Red skin -- Before I'd realized I had this condition, I jogged. Occasionally. On the beach in NY where a breeze was enough to cool me off, and the ocean was there if I needed it. And then I moved to Texas and stupidly went about my routine in the sweltering Texas sun. After 1 hour I looked sun-burnt. Everywhere. The university nurse wanted to send me to the hospital because she thought I had severe burns. But when I woke up the next morning, I was my usual pale self. I'd simply overheated.
- Fainting or swooning -- Get too hot and you'll either come close to passing out, or you simply will. If your kid is participating in normal sports but seems to be the only one overheating, this could be a symptom you want to get checked out.
What to do if you or your kid has it?
Educate your child and his teachers; few people are familiar with this. Make sure that everyone is aware that Johnny can actually pass out from the heat and don't force him to run cross country if he's not up to it. Of course, he might be up to it -- just ask him how it affects him and make sure he's not going red.
Realize that certain activities are out of your league and accept it. Unless you want to do them in an Arctic environment. And hey, maybe you do.
Don't overdress. Meaning, don't layer your kid in 3 shirts just because it's cold outside. If you really feel like he needs extra stuff, send it along, but let him decide when to put it on.
If bathwater makes the temp go up too much, make it lukewarm instead. Also, cold baths are a great way to cool everything off quickly.
Ice doesn't feel any better on us than it does on you -- so don't get crazy and think an ice bath is in order unless a doctor suggests it.
Make sure he has something cold to drink in the summer, especially if you live where it's hot. And make sure it's something he will drink! Don't send him to school with cold prune juice if the only thing he'll drink is cold milk.