- Caring for the Patient With Cancer at Home: A Guide for Patients and Families
- Anxiety and fear
- Appetite, poor
- Blood counts
- Blood in stool
- Blood in urine
- Fluids and dehydration
- Grooming and appearance
- Hair loss
- Leg cramps
- Mouth, bleeding in
- Mouth dryness
- Mouth sores
- Nausea and vomiting
- Scars and wounds
- Shortness of breath
- Skin color changes
- Skin dryness
- Skin (pressure) sores
- Sleep problems
- Steroids and hormones
- Stomas (or ostomies)
- Swallowing problems
- Treatment at home
- Tubes and IV lines
- Weight changes
- When death is approaching
- To learn more
Sweating is heavy perspiration that can happen at night or even when the room is cool. It can be heavy enough to soak a person’s clothes. Such sweating is common when a fever breaks. You may notice sweating happens a short time after the person has shaking chills. (See the section called "Fever.")
You can have a fever with or without a known infection. Sometimes, no fever is detected, only the sweating that goes along with a drop or break in fever.
What to look for
- Feeling wet or damp during the night or waking up to find sheets damp
- Fever followed by heavy sweating as the body temperature goes back down
- Shaking chills
- Drenching sweats even when there is no fever
What the patient can do
- Take medicine to reduce fever, such as Tylenol, but only if instructed by the doctor or nurse.
- Dress in 2 layers of clothing. The layer on the outside will act as a wick to pull moisture up and away from the skin.
- Change wet clothes as quickly as possible.
- Keep your bed linens dry.
- Bathe at least once a day to soothe skin and to maintain good hygiene.
What caregivers can do
- Help the patient keep clothes and bed linens dry.
- Check the patient’s temperature several times a day to find out if there is fever. Wait 10-15 minutes after the patient eats or drinks to check temperature.
- Offer extra liquids to replace the fluid that is lost through sweat.
- For comfort, offer to help the patient with a tub bath or shower if needed.
Call the doctor if the patient:
- Becomes dehydrated from frequent soaking sweats (See the section called "Fluids and dehydration.")
- Has fever of 100.5° F or higher (when taken by mouth) for more than 24 hours
- Has tremors or shaking chills
Last Medical Review: 03/24/2011
Last Revised: 08/11/2011