Sweat, a perceptible moisture, issuing from the pores of the skin, either in consequence of too violent exercise, or from the action of certain medicines, which are hence denominated sudorifics ; though it is sometimes occasioned by great debility of the cutaneous vessels, when it is called a cold sweat.
Sweats seldom occur in healthy individuals, excepting from some defect or mismanagement of their diet, regimen, etc.: if excessive, they are always hurtful; on account of their drying and weakening the body; depriving the humours of their aqueous parts ; and disposing the system to inflammatory diseases. In certain cases, however, when artificially excited, such secretion is productive of beneficial effects, as in palsy, rheumatism, dropsy, and other chronical complaints. Sometimes, sweats are critical, in particular disorders; Nature exerting herself, by the outlets of the skin, to discharge morbid matter: in these, and indeed in all such instances as are not attended with dangerous symptoms, they ought to be promoted; and, on no account, to be suddenly or rashly suppressed ; for head-achs, cutaneous eruptions, catarrhs, together with inflammations, and numerous other affections, are frequently induced by neglecting this salutary evacuation. - See also PERSPIRATION.