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Skin Care and Diseases

Itching whelps

10/13/2005

Question:

When my spouse gets hot and sweats he will immediately start whelping on his back, shoulders, and his legs. Basicly where ever he sweats the most on his body. What can cause this type of reaction?

Answer:

Your description of your husband's itching and hive formation on his back when perspiring is typical of the eccrine sweat follicular occlusion syndrome.  That is to say, some of the sweat glands function in the skin but do not dump their contents onto the surface of the skin leading to extravasation of sweat into the epidermis.  This can lead to miliaria rubra profunda pustulosa.

This kind of syndrome can be seen in people who perspire profusely and work in very high temperatures for extend periods of time.  Treatment is at times difficult.  Keeping the individual cool would help minimize the problem.  In individuals who become completely devoid of wet sweat on the skin, hyperthermia or increased body core temperature may occur, and that can jeopardize ones health.  In the past, some physicians have reported the use of Prednisone up to 20 mg a day for four to six weeks and this has resulted in return to normal function of the eccrine gland and duct. 

I would urge that you see your board certified dermatologist for a complete review of the skin problem.  

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Response by:

Charles L Heaton, MD
Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati