- Caring for the Patient With Cancer at Home: A Guide for Patients and Families
- Anxiety, fear, and emotional distress
- Appetite, poor
- Blood counts
- Blood in stool
- Blood in urine
- Fluids (lack of) 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
- 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 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 acetaminophen (Tylenol), if you are instructed to take it by the doctor or nurse.
- Dress in 2 layers of clothing. The layer on the inside 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.
- If you’re sweating a lot, bathe at least once a day to soothe your skin and for good hygiene.
What caregivers can do
- Help the patient keep clothes and bed linens dry.
- Check the patient’s temperature several times a day. Wait 10-15 minutes after the patient eats or drinks to check temperature.
- Offer extra liquids to replace the fluid that’s lost through sweat.
- 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 (lack of) 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: 11/05/2013
Last Revised: 11/05/2013