I’m always adding to the “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) section, so make sure to check that out! There are two entries that drew some attention recently, so I thought I’d share them in the blog. Please “Contact Me” with your questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you!
Often heard at dinner parties: Can you tell me what this rash is and how to treat it?
The answer is no! Not because I don’t know what the rash could be, not because I can’t treat it, and certainly not because I don’t want to help you! If a patient with a rash, or any health concern for that matter, walked into my office, I’d be spending about an hour with them on the first visit. I’d ask questions about their current concern, about their medical history, their diet and other lifestyle factors, I’d do a physical exam, I might send them for tests. Once I’ve collected enough information about them (not just their rash), I might then know what type of rash it is, what may be causing it, what might aggravate it, and how best to treat it safely and effectively so that it’s not likely to come back. Sure, there are quick solutions, ointments, and what not, that can help. These are sometimes recommended, keeping in mind the ultimate goal of naturopathic medicine. Going back to the principles of naturopathic medicine (read more here), I’m aiming to treat the root cause, and to consider the whole picture. If someone, in passing, asks me how to treat their rash, what to do for diabetes, how to treat high cholesterol, a hundred questions come to mind. Sure, I can spout off the standard answer, the most common treatment, but this approach may put that person at risk. What if by doing this, I’ve overlooked a serious underlying condition, what if they have an allergy or are taking a medication that would interact with the “common treatment” I’ve suggested, what if what I’ve suggested simply doesn’t solve the issue, where’s our follow-up (maybe the next dinner party)? Through our naturopathic education and training, we’ve been taught that it is only acceptable to provide assessment and treatment in a proper clinical setting. I think it’s important for people to understand why this is, hopefully this has helped to clear that up!
Can I just give this supplement to the rest of my family, my kids?
This question goes hand-in-hand with the previous one. It is often asked in regards to things like vitamins, fish oils, probiotics, and other supplements that may be used for general health. The majority of the time, these supplements would present little or no risk to your family members. However, unless your ND is familiar with your family members in a doctor-patient setting and is aware of their medical history and concerns, they cannot provide a definitive answer to this question. Again, the reasoning here has to do with safety, efficacy, and a holistic approach to patient care. The number one priority is always to provide the best possible care to each unique patient, regardless of what treatment plan or supplements their family members may be using. In some situations, if your ND is caring for you as well as your family, and has permission to discuss your family members’ care with you (confidentiality is also a priority), you may be able to discuss certain supplements that could be appropriate for various family members. This can make things easier and most cost-effective for your family’s care. However, the number one priority remains to make the best individual recommendations to each patient.