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My Top Tips to Prepare for Your Dermatologist Appointment

Hindsight really is a wonderful thing.

If I could turn back time I definitely would. When I was a child, my visits to the dermatologist would be quick and fleeting. I would have done things so very differently. In fairness, I was a kid in the 1980s and was just being hauled from one appointment to another by my parents, so I did not get much of a say in the matter.

Why would I do things differently?

Doing things differently can be summed up in one image: me in the back of my parents' car on the way to the hospital eating some chips, drinking Coke, and listening to my Walkman. I now reflect back on this as a kind of treat by my parents because of what I was going through, but there was a problem right there with the snacking on salty, fatty foods and drinking sugary fluids that we totally overlooked.

What can you prepare ahead of the appointment?

When I go now to any appointment regarding my health, I go armed with a list of questions and concerns. So, this would be my first tip. Time is precious and one has to maximize the time with their specialist as effectively as they can. When I was younger, we never did any of this. My parents would just be sort of passive customers waiting for the expert to tell us what to do. Another tip would be to keep a diary (even if it’s a mental one) of when your eczema is triggered. This will allow your dermatologist to see what kind of things you can do to avoid these triggers from arising.

Make a list of all your medications, even the ones that are not for your eczema. For all one knows, your skin's reaction could be a side effect from another medication and again, just passing over this info to your doctor might be helpful with his or her investigation.

How can you maintain control of your eczema care?

Don’t be afraid to speak up or challenge what you are being told by the dermatologist. You want a good relationship with your doctor so there are ways of challenging in a kind and diplomatic manner. For example, on one of my many visits to see my doctor (a few years back) I was in a really bad way with my skin - covered from head-to-toe with oozing cuts and rashes. My doctor recommended a strong course of oral and topical corticosteroids.

I said to him that I had spent a lot of money on the appointment with him and it was a little bizarre that what he was recommending had not worked for 40-odd years and there is so much buzz around new treatments, why can’t I try something different? Reading that back that sounds a little combative but I promise it was said in a more deflated tone about the system. He agreed but told me I was in such a bad way that we would have to fix me and get me well and then we could look at other treatments which is what happened. So, don't feel afraid to respectfully challenge them. They are the experts but you know your own body better than anyone else.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The AtopicDermatitis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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