Published On: Tue, Oct 10th, 2017

AT&T Now Recognizes Excessive Sweating as a Disability

AT&T has added hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, to its list of relatively common medical conditions that it recognizes as a disability. The company is partnering with the International Hyperhidrosis Society (IHhS) to raise awareness and help AT&T better accommodate employees with this condition.

photo/ Gerd Altmann via pixabay

IHhs presented an informative webinar to hundreds of people in the AT&T community. The event was hosted at one of the company’s resource groups, called the NETwork and the Health Awareness Committee.

The partnership with IHhS started with one AT&T employee, who reached out to the non-profit and put the organization in touch with the Health Awareness Committee. That employee also suffers from hyperhidrosis and wanted to help others in the company who also suffer with this condition.

The multinational corporation employs more than 200,000 people across the globe. A recent study from IHhS estimates that 4.8% of the population, or about 367 million people suffer from this condition. AT&T’s large workforce is likely to be affected by the condition.

With AT&T recognizing this condition as a disability, affected workers can get the hyperhidrosis treatment they need.

“AT&T’s work to recognize, accommodate and even value hyperhidrosis for the diverse perspective it brings is a huge positive step,” said Lisa Pieretti, IHhS Executive Director. “Employees at AT&T are so fortunate to have such a forward-thinking company behind them – we can’t wait to help these attitudes spread to other workplaces worldwide.”

Hyperhidrosis is a condition that causes excessive, or abnormal, sweating in the feet, face, hands, armpits or other areas of the body.

There are two main forms of this condition.

Primary hyperhidrosis starts around adolescence and typically affects the hands and feet. Those with this form of the condition may have more than one episode of excessive sweating per week, but rarely sweat at night. Many people find that this condition is inherited, and other family members also suffer from excessive sweating.

Secondary hyperhidrosis is the result of another medical condition or is the side effect of a certain medication. Unlike with primary hyperhidrosis, sweating occurs at night and usually doesn’t appear until adulthood.

Hyperhidrosis can be caused by:

  • Diabetes
  • Infection
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Obesity
  • Menopause
  • Heart failure
  • Pregnancy
  • Alcoholism

The condition can also be caused by certain medications or burns.

Common treatment options for hyperhidrosis include medicated antiperspirants, an iontophoresis device, Botox, lasers and miraDry.

Doctors are also experimenting with using a combination of treatments as well as oral medications and surgeries. Because of potential side effects, medication is typically only advised for special occasions or as a temporary treatment.

Medications, Botox and special antiperspirants appear to be the most effective for all parts of the body, says IHhS.

As part of their partnership with AT&T, IHhS has made recommendations on how to better accommodate workers with this condition.

These recommendations include: flexible work schedules and telecommuting, making therapeutic clothing and sweat management products available, acceptance of the “fist bump” instead of the hand shake, allowing personal hand towels and more.

IHhS also encourages AT&T to raise awareness of hyperhidrosis as a medical condition – not a character flaw.

Author: Jacob Maslow

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