Preparing for your appointment

You're likely to start by seeing your family or primary care doctor. But in some cases when you call to set up an appointment, you may be referred to a specialist in skin diseases (dermatologist).

Here's some information to help you prepare for your appointment.

What you can do

  • List your signs and symptoms, when they occurred, and how long they lasted. Also, it may help to list factors that triggered or worsened your symptoms — such as soaps or detergents, tobacco smoke, sweating, or long, hot showers.
  • Make a list of all the medications, vitamins, supplements and herbs you're taking. Even better, take the original bottles and a written list of the dosages and directions.
  • List questions to ask your doctor. Ask questions when you want something clarified.

For atopic dermatitis, some basic questions you might ask your doctor include:

  • What might be causing my signs and symptoms?
  • Are tests needed to confirm the diagnosis?
  • What treatment do you recommend, if any?
  • Is this condition temporary or chronic?
  • Can I wait to see if the condition goes away on its own?
  • What are the alternatives to the primary approach you're suggesting?
  • What skin care routines do you recommend to improve my symptoms?

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you several questions, including:

  • When did you begin having symptoms?
  • How often do you have these symptoms?
  • Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
  • What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
  • Do you or any family members have asthma or allergies?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • Do you come in direct contact with pets or animals? What products do you use on your skin?
  • Does your condition affect your sleep or your ability to go about your daily activities?
July 25, 2017
References
  1. AskMayoExpert. Atopic dermatitis (adult and pediatric). Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2016.
  2. Eichenfeld LF, et al. Guidelines of care for the management of atopic dermatitis. Section 1. Diagnosis and assessment of atopic dermatitis. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2014;70:338.
  3. Archer CB. Atopic dermatitis. Medicine. In press.Accessed May 10, 2017.
  4. Eichenfield LF, et al. Current guidelines for the evaluation and management of atopic dermatitis: A comparison of the Joint Task Force Practice Parameter and American Academy of Dermatology guidelines. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2017;139:S49.
  5. Habif TP. Atopic dermatitis. In: Clinical Dermatology: A Color Atlas Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 6th ed. St. Louis, Mo.: Elsevier Saunders; 2016. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed May 9, 2017.
  6. Wolff K, et al. Atopic dermatitis ICD-10: L20. In: Fitzpatrick's Color Atlas and Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2017.
  7. Ibler KS, et al. Hand eczema: Prevalence and risk factors of hand eczema in a population of 2,274 health care workers. Contact Dermatitis. 2012;67:200.
  8. Bleach baths. National Eczema Association. https://nationaleczema.org/alternative-therapies/bleach-baths/. Accessed May 10, 2017.
  9. Atopic dermatitis. Eczema. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/databases/medical-conditions/a/atopic-dermatitis.aspx. Accessed May 10, 2017.
  10. Weston WL, et al. Patient information: Atopic dermatitis (eczema) (Beyond the Basics). https://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 10, 2017.
  11. Wolter S, et al. Atopic dermatitis. Pediatric Clinics of North America. 2014;61:241.
  12. Zhang A, et al. Association of atopic dermatitis with being overweight and obese: A systematic review and metaanalysis. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2015;72:606.
  13. Gibson LE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 30, 2017.