Should you be worried about junior’s sweaty hands and feet?

Excessively sweaty body parts may indicate a health issue ― this debilitating disorder which affects your child’s self-esteem.

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Sweating not only helps our body stay cool, it is the perfect physical response to warm temperatures, exercise, or to situations that make us anxious, nervous, angry or afraid.

“The nerves [in your body] activate the sweat glands when your body is overheated, when you’re moving around, when you’re feeling emotional, stressed or anxious, or as a result of hormonal changes,” explains Dr Rajeev Ramachandran, a consultant in ambulatory paediatrics and adolescent medicine at the National University Hospital.

 Dr Rajeev adds that sweating especially happens in our feet or palms more often than other parts of our body because these areas have more sweat glands. Did you know that nobody, not even a baby, is exempted from sweating?

 

In kids, excessive sweating in the palms and feet usually occurs after puberty, but the issue can start at an early age as well.

Mum-of-three Cynthia Chew, notes that all three of her daughters had sweaty palms and feet from the newborn stage. “My youngest is 5 months old and has always had sweaty feet and palms,” Chew says. “I also realised that even though I bathe her regularly, her toes are still stinky, not that it’s stopped me from nibbling on them,” Chew adds with a laugh.

Excessive sweating in babies is normal, doctors say, as their bodies are not mature enough to regulate temperature. This will lessen as they grow.

Sweating is also a normal part of growing up for active toddlers and older kids who can’t sit still and love to be in the outdoors. However, if junior is sweating profusely without doing any physical activities, then it may be a cause for concern.

What causes sweaty palms and feet in kids?

In kids, excessive sweating in the palms and feet usually occurs after puberty, but the issue can start at an early age as well. In the majority of cases, it continues throughout their lifetime.

Also known as hyperhidrosis, this type of sweating is often genetic and can be passed down from parents to their kids. However, it can also be triggered by certain things and lifestyle choices.

“A number of things can trigger the sweating, including certain drugs, hormones, spicy foods, stress and diseases,” Dr Rajeev notes. “Or it might be present all the time to some degree, but is at its worst when under stress, such as during exams.”

Other times, it can also be due to medical conditions such as diabetes and endocrine problems like hyperthyroidism [an overactive thyroid gland], which is coupled with nervousness, anxiety, rapid heartbeat and hand tremors. In other cases, it can be due to cystic fibrosis, heart diseases or an infection.

While he doesn’t have a ballpark figure of how many kids he sees in a year with this condition, Dr Rajeev says he usually treats sweaty hands as a symptom of an underlying condition that was mentioned above.