9 Signs You've Found a Good Dermatologist for Your Chronic Hives

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Chronic hives is a long-term skin condition. Some people experience weeks-long outbreaks for several years or longer. You need to have a dermatologist you can trust and who has your best interest in mind. You need to feel comfortable and know that your doctor listens and cares. Continue reading for questions to ask about your doctor to find out if you have the right dermatologist.

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Does your doctor have experience treating chronic urticaria?

About one-half of all cases of chronic urticaria are caused by an immune reaction. That means it isn’t an allergic reaction. Dermatologists who don’t have much experience with chronic urticaria might see it as an allergic reaction. Find out how much experience your dermatologist has in treating chronic hives.

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Is your doctor board-certified with the American Academy of Dermatology?

You can usually find this information on the practice’s website, by asking the doctor or nurse, or by contacting the American Academy of Dermatology. Someone who is board certified has completed medical school, residency, and has a license to practice medicine. They have also passed additional rigorous exams administered by the American Academy of Dermatology.

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Are appointments long enough for you to ask questions?

Some doctor’s appointments are timed and you have to fit your problem into their schedule. Other doctors provide ample time to address all of your questions and concerns as well as explain any treatment recommendations. One of the signs of a good dermatologist is that you don’t feel rushed during appointments.

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Can you reach your doctor after hours?

What if you have an emergency in the evening or on the weekend? Can you reach the doctor fairly quickly? Check to make sure there is an on-call service and ask how long it typically takes for a doctor to return your call during non-office hours.

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Does your doctor expect you to ask questions?

In the past, doctors were considered the absolute authority. Patients followed their doctor’s recommendations, often without questioning it. Today’s doctor-patient relationship is different. As a patient, it is important to be involved in your treatment and that means asking questions. If your doctor dismisses your questions, then he isn’t the right one. Look for a doctor who expects you to ask questions and patiently answers each one.

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Is your doctor open-minded?

When you live with chronic urticaria, chances are you spend time reading about it online. You might look up recent research or read stories on how other people cope. You might hear about a new type of treatment. Is your doctor open to your ideas? Does he not only listen but hear what you are saying? If you mention something he hasn’t heard about, is he willing to find out?

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Is the office staff friendly and welcoming?

Your doctor is the person treating you and it is her knowledge, experience, and demeanor that matter the most. But that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to be treated well by the office staff. You don’t want to be berated if you miss an appointment or ridiculed if you are emotional about the never-ending stress of living with chronic urticaria.

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Does your doctor continually upgrade skills and knowledge?

You want a doctor who is ready to learn and adapt as new research becomes available. It wasn’t long ago that chronic hives was seen more as an allergic reaction than an immune reaction. You want a doctor who is always looking to expand his knowledge about your condition. Ask about the last conference he attended or the most recent research about chronic urticaria he read.

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Do you feel good when leaving their office?

Pay attention to how you feel when you leave your dermatologist’s office. Do you feel emotionally drained or let down? Or do you feel hopeful or at least that your concerns are legitimate and that your doctor cares about your health? Doctors who see you as broken might make you feel drained. Doctors who view you as a whole person who needs support make you feel hopeful.