Doc: Kids Are Not Often Aware Of Body Odor

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s an uncomfortable conversation, but one that parents eventually need to have with their kids.

It’s about body odor. We know that as kids get older, their bodies begin to change.

And during the summer months, one of the most noticeable changes has to do with their sweat. We talked with Dr. Sheldon Berkowitz, a pediatrician Monday at Minneapolis Children’s Hospitals, about what to do when your child hits puberty and starts to smell bad.

Berkowitz says: “They always sweat to a certain degree, but as you head into puberty, a lot more of those sweat glands start to operate, and you start to produce more sweat, some which is going to smell more.”

Body odor starts to become a problem, he says, between the ages of 9 and 12.

“They start to change when they are heading into puberty, and that differs by each child. Girls enter puberty quicker than boys do,” he said.

Parents tend to notice the odor first.

“Parents are definitely concerned about it, because it smells and they are aware of it. A lot of times the kids are not as aware, especially…adolescent boys. I mean, it’s tough. They smell, and they don’t care about bathing, and they don’t want to do all the other things that need to be done,” he said. “Girls tend to care a little bit more conscious about it.”

When you notice that body odor, go ahead and talk to your child about taking a shower and bath more often, wearing clean clothes, and making sure they use a deodorant or anti-perspirant.

“When they get older, you’re going to need to talk to them about what happens in puberty,” Berkowitz said.

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