You're likely to start by seeing your family or primary care doctor. However, in some cases when you call to set up an appointment, you may be referred to a specialist in skin diseases (dermatologist).
It's good to prepare for your appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and to know what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Write down your signs and symptoms, when they occurred and how long they lasted. Also, it may help to write down any factors that triggered or worsened your symptoms, such as soaps or detergents, tobacco smoke, sweating, or long, hot showers.
- Make a list of all medications, including vitamins, herbs and over-the-counter drugs, you're taking. Even better, take the original bottles and a written list of the dosages and directions.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor. Don't be afraid to ask questions or to speak up when you want something clarified.
For atopic dermatitis, some basic questions you might ask your doctor include:
- What might be causing the signs and symptoms?
- Are tests needed to confirm the diagnosis?
- What treatment approach 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 that 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:
Aug. 23, 2011
- 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 products do you use on your skin?
- Weston WL, et al. Epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis of atopic dermatitis (eczema). http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed April 21, 2011.
- Weston WL, et al. Treatment of atopic dermatitis (eczema). http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed April 21, 2011.
- Eczema/atopic dermatitis. American Academy of Dermatology. http://www.aad.org/public/Publications/pamphlets/EczemaAtopicDermatitis.htm. Accessed May 3, 2011.
- What is atopic dermatitis? National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/hi/topics/dermatitis/ffdermatitis.htm. Accessed May 3, 2011.
- Habif TP. Atopic dermatitis. In: Habif TP. Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 5th ed. Edinburgh, U.K.; New York, N.Y.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do? about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-7234-3541-9. X0001-6--TOP&isbn=978-0-7234-3541-9&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed April 24, 2011.
- Zeppa L, et al. Atopic dermatitis in adults. Dermatitis. 2011;22:40.
- Atopic dermatitis: Possible complications. American Academy of Dermatology. http://www.skincarephysicians.com/eczemanet/complications.html. Accessed May 2, 2011.
- Spergel JM. Management of severe refractory atopic dermatitis (eczema). http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed April 21, 2011.