Twelve mistakes even good GPs make: They deal with so many illnesses they can’t always keep up with the latest thinking. And our experts reveal YOU may pay the price.
Andrew Wright, professor of dermatology at the University of Bradford, says: ‘When patients go to their doctors with an eczema-like rash, the routine seems to involve the GP having a quick look and then prescribing a cream such as a hydrocortisone, which will help relieve the symptoms.
‘But often little direction is given about how much to use. So a 30g tube of ointment may be given with a request to come back in two weeks if there’s no improvement.
‘The patient thinks the cream is supposed to last two weeks, will under-treat themselves to keep the cream going, the eczema then gets worse, so they go back to their GP, who refers them to a specialist.
‘If GPs could give proper direction about how to use the ointments they prescribe, rather than relying on the patient to read the small print on the leaflet, it would save us all a lot of time.
‘GPs also shouldn’t prescribe aqueous cream for eczema – not even to wash with. It’s incredibly damaging to skin, especially children’s, because it contains sodium lauryl sulphate, which is the harshest possible detergent.
‘As a consequence, it breaks the skin down, making eczema worse. Very worryingly, many people are still given it as a moisturiser as it’s the cheapest option.
‘Research has shown more than half of children who used it suffered an immediate bad reaction, such as stinging.’