Knowing when it's time to try something new
Eczema is a chronic skin condition characterized by rough, red and extremely dry skin. Sufferers must cope with the challenges and frustrations of living with this condition on a daily basis. For those struggling with the disease, it can be difficult to know when you've hit a "rough patch" that will pass, or when it's time to consider switching to a new or different treatment regimen.
Hamilton, Ontario dermatologist, Ronald Vender, MD, FRCPC and Director of Dermatrials Research, has this advice for eczema sufferers wondering if it's time to try a new treatment:
. Consult your doctor - Your doctor needs to know how you are currently managing your eczema in order to help you in the best way possible. Never make any changes to your existing treatment plan without consulting your doctor first. Share your thoughts and experiences with your doctor, who can help you achieve the best treatment results.
. Over-the-counter vs. prescription medications - If you have been trying to manage your eczema with over-the-counter (OTC) products, you may find that your symptoms are not as well controlled as you would like. Prescription medications tend to be more effective in controlling eczema. Talking to your doctor should be the first step on your way to successfully getting symptoms under control.
. Persistence pays - Allow about six weeks before deciding whether a given treatment is the right one for you. Schedule a follow-up visit with your doctor within a month of starting your eczema treatment to discuss your progress. Most eczema medications are available in several strengths, and simple adjustments or helpful tips from your doctor may be all you need to start seeing results.
. Using medication properly - It's important to follow directions from your doctor on exactly how to apply prescribed treatments. For example, most topical eczema medications have to be applied twice every day in order to keep symptoms under control. Not using medication as prescribed by your doctor can often be a key reason for setbacks. Although staying on track can be difficult, ask your dermatologist about specific programs that can help you chart your progress.
According to Dr. Vender, newer medicines for eczema offer individuals dealing with this condition safe and effective treatment. His advice: speak to your doctor and explore the options.
For comprehensive information and tips on how to manage your eczema, look to credible and recognized resources that are easily accessible on the web. The CDA (Canadian Dermatology Association) award-winning EASE (Eczema Awareness, Support and Education) program can be found at www.eczemacanada.ca. For children, visit www.pennysworld.ca, part of the Penny's World program designed for young children suffering from eczema.
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