Clammy skin is cool, moist, and usually pale.
Sweat - cold; Clammy skin; Cold sweat
Clammy skin may be an emergency. Call your health care provider or 911 or the local emergency number.
Causes of clammy skin include:
Home care depends on what is causing the clammy skin. Call for medical help if you are not sure.
If you think the person is in shock, lie them down on their back and raise their legs about 12 inches (30 centimeters). Call 911 or the local emergency number or take the person to the hospital.
If the clammy skin may be due to heat exhaustion and the person is awake and can swallow:
Seek immediate medical help if the person has any of the following signs or symptoms:
Always contact your doctor or go to the emergency department if the symptoms do not go away quickly.
The provider will perform a physical exam and ask questions about the symptoms and the person's medical history, including:
Tests and treatments may include:
The outlook depends on the cause of the clammy skin. Examination and test results will help determine immediate and long-term outlooks.
Angus DC. Approach to the patient with shock. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 98.
Marik PE. Endocrinology of the stress response during critical illness. In: Ronco C, Bellomo R, Kellum JA, Ricci Z, eds. Critical Care Nephrology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 76.
Puskarich MA, Jones AE. Shock. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 6.
Reviewed By: Jesse Borke, MD, CPE, FAAEM, FACEP, Attending Physician at Kaiser Permanente, Orange County, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.