How does hyperhidrosis effect wheelchair users?

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It’s not just sweaty palms or a bit of damp on the back of your shirt after some exercise.

It’s not just sweaty palms or a bit of damp on the back of your shirt after some exercise. Hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating that occurs all over the body. It’s something that can make a person feel self conscious and it can lead to challenges with skin care. We’re going to talk about what exactly is hyperhidrosis, what are the symptoms, and how WheelAir can help keep skin dry and clean for wheelchair users.

What is hyperhidrosis?

Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition that affects each person differently, characterised by abnormally increased sweating, in excess of that required for regulation of body temperature.
“Hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, is a relatively common complaint in patients with spinal cord injury (SCI). It can be accompanied by significant social and emotional distress, negatively affecting an individual’s quality of life.”

What are the symptoms?

  • Frequent/excessive sweating
  • Clammy/wet hands or feet
  • Developing skin problems from irritation or fungal/bacterial infection
  • Noticeable sweat marks and damp clothing

What are some of the complications of hyperhidrosis?

  • Fungal infections and other conditions such as warts and boils
  • Body odour
  • Hyperhidrosis can impact self esteem and daily living
  • For wheelchair users, excessive sweating can impact skin integrity and contribute tissue damage

For those in wheelchairs, excessive sweating can cause additional care needs, such as a need to change clothing multiple times per day, impact on daily living, and difficulty finding the right seating solution that doesn’t cause a build up of heat and moisture.


In custom moulded seating systems over-sweating becomes an even bigger issue. Therefore we work with selected partners worldwide to offer the WheelAir System in custom moulded seating. A 12-month study by the NHS Kings College London “Can ventilation improve posture?” demonstrated the user progressing from having his clothes changed 4 times per day to only once. A huge improvement.


For Alistair, WheelAir’s airflow helps him manage over-sweating, I have often been dripping in sweat, especially at the beginning of my injury (T4 Spinal Injury). Sweating is an issue because it is very uncomfortable, unhygienic, and cause skin issues in the longer term. With WheelAir, I’m finding that in physiotherapy sessions, my back is a lot comfier and I am sweating less.” – Alistair. 
Read more about how over-sweating can impact skin integrity here.


How does WheelAir help?

Through active airflow, WheelAir allows for self regulation of the body temperature through convection, conduction, and evaporation heat loss. Many WheelAir users, like Alistair, turn on the fans as a preventative measure to keep them cool and dry. If the WheelAir user is aware they are getting too warm or sweaty, they can increase the fan speed.

How to get WheelAir

Speak to your clinician, use our Knowledge page to fully understand the health implications of overheating, over-sweating and the influence of microclimate on skin integrity, look at our Case Studiesand understand your clinical need to help aid the wheelchair service decision.



If you are a healthcare professional and looking for more information, please visit our knowledge page or drop the team a message at


Unilateral Hyperhidrosis From a Contralateral Source in an Individual With C4 Complete Tetraplegia
Johns Hopkins – Excessive Sweating
Mayo Clinic – Hyperhidrosis
Can ventilation improve posture? A Study from NHS Guys & St Thomas Wheelchair Services