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Talking to Your Doctor About Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)

Main Page | Risk Factors | Symptoms | Diagnosis | Treatment | Screening | Reducing Your Risk | Talking to Your Doctor | Living With Eczema | Resource Guide

You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with eczema. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.

General Tips for Gathering Information

Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:

  • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
  • Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.

Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor

About Atopic Dermatitis/Eczema

  • Why do I have eczema?
  • What caused the condition?
  • Does eczema have anything to do with my hay fever, asthma, or allergies?
  • Am I doing anything that makes it worse?
  • Does stress play a role in eczema?

About Your Risk of Developing Eczema

  • Based on my symptoms and family and medical history, am I at risk for developing eczema?
  • Are my children at risk for developing eczema?

About Treatment Options

  • What treatment options are available to me?
  • How much improvement can I expect from this treatment?
  • What side effects should I watch for?
  • What can I do to alleviate the itching (or other symptoms)?
  • How will we know if the treatment is working?
  • How will we know if I need to consult with another or a different specialist?

About Lifestyle Changes

  • What type of lifestyle changes should I make to prevent another eczema outbreak?
  • Will I still be able to exercise? Are there any precautions I should take during exercise?

About Outlook

  • What is the prognosis of my case? What can I expect in the future?
  • Is it likely that eczema will recur?
  • Will it get worse?

References:

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov.



Last reviewed November 2013 by Michael Woods, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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