b. Importance of Drug Information. Drugs are often the cause of skin
eruptions. Skin eruptions caused by drugs usually develop rapidly; therefore, it is
generally easy for the patient to remember and give the names of drugs he has taken
recently. When asking the patient what drugs he has taken, ask very specific questions
such as these:
(1) "Do you take sleeping pills, nerve medicines, vitamins, laxatives, or
"Have you been given any pills for a recent illness?"
"Did your doctor give you any shots recently?"
c. Food and Skin Problems. Some foods cause skin problems. Some
individuals get hives or wheals after eating strawberries, shellfish such as shrimp, or
any kind of nut. Other people develop skin lesions after consuming alcoholic
d. History of the Skin Eruption. When taking the patient's history, be sure to
ask the patient what the skin eruption looked like as it was developing. Obtain this
An exact description of the onset of the skin problem.
A careful description of the first skin lesion(s).
The details of the development and extension of the skin lesion(s).
(4) If the skin problem has happened before, ask the patient if he can relate
the appearance of skin lesions to any of the factors listed in paragraph 2-2a; common
factors such as food, drugs, contact with plants, etc.
e. Patient's General Medical History. Although information about the patient's
general medical health is not always obtained, it can be of great help in diagnosing and
treating a skin problem. Be sure to ask for this information:
Patient's age. Also record his sex and race.
(2) The patient's past medical history: hospital admissions; illnesses;
operations; pregnancies; drug sensitivities; hazardous exposure; general health; habits;
Social history: birthplace; residence; and travel (especially foreign).