If you are experiencing an itch and have decided it’s time to call in the professionals, there are several things you can do to help prepare yourself for your doctor’s appointment.
“There are numerous causes of pruritus, from bug bites to internal disease to other chronic conditions like eczema or psoriasis,” says Vishakha Gigler, M.D. a dermatologist at Comprehensive Dermatology Group in Encinitas, CA and a member of the Cosmederm Bioscience Scientific Advisory Board. “Because of this, it’s important to come armed with information to provide your doctor so they can more accurately diagnose your condition.”
So either the day before or the morning of your appointment, take 15 minutes to write down the following:
- What is likely causing my symptoms? (Think back: did you use a new cosmetic, cleaning or laundry product or eat something you were allergic to? Were you outdoors recently? Are you wearing a new piece of jewelry or clothing?)
- How long have I been itching? (Think back: did it start recently or have you been scratching for weeks? Can you pinpoint the date you started itching?)
- Do I have other health problems the doctor should know about? (Remember: itchy skin is sometimes associated with other conditions or medications you’re taking, so be open and honest with your dermatologist)
- Where does the itch occur? Everywhere (generalized) or in limited areas?
- Do I see a rash or does my skin basically look “normal”?
Your doctor also may ask you what you have been doing or trying to help quell your jitters, so you should also be prepared to list any home remedies or over-the-counter treatments you’ve tried. Be prepared to answer the following:
- Have your symptoms changed at all over the course of your itchiness?
- What treatments have you tried or are currently taking?
- Does anything improve (or worsen) your symptoms?
Itchiness may be out of your control, so prepping for the appointment is a good way to take your health back into your own hands.
References: Mayo Clinic/ Preparing for your Appointment
“Every day my patients ask me how they can prevent wrinkles and brown spots. My advice is to first and foremost protect yourself from the sun and UV rays.” –Dr. Gigler