Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If the appointment is for your child, you're likely to start by seeing your child's pediatrician. If the appointment is for you, you're likely to start by seeing your primary care doctor. He or she may refer you or your child to a specialist in skin conditions (dermatologist).

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

What you can do

  • Write down any symptoms your child or you are experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
  • Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements you or your child is taking.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Preparing a list of questions for your doctor will help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important. For ichthyosis vulgaris, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What's the most likely cause of these symptoms?
  • Are there other possible causes?
  • What kinds of tests do I or my child need?
  • Is the condition likely temporary or long lasting?
  • What treatments are available and which do you recommend?
  • Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend?

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, including:

  • When did your symptoms first appear?
  • Have the symptoms been continuous or do they come and go?
  • What, if anything, seems to improve the symptoms?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen the symptoms?
  • Does anyone in your immediate or extended family have similar skin changes?

What you can do in the meantime

To help soothe your or your child's skin:

  • Wash only with mild soaps that have added oils and fats. Avoid strongly scented and antibacterial soaps, which are especially harsh on dry skin.
  • Apply moisturizer or lubricating cream while your or your child's skin is still moist from bathing. Choose a moisturizer that contains urea or propylene glycol — chemicals that help keep your skin moist. Petroleum jelly is another good choice. Cover the treated areas with plastic wrap to keep the petroleum jelly from staining clothes and furniture.
Oct. 20, 2012