WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Dermatomyositis (DM) is a muscle disease that causes inflammation and a skin rash.
- Medicines help decrease pain, rash, swelling, and itching. You may also need medicine to slow the attack on your muscles by your immune system.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your primary healthcare provider (PHP) if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Manage your symptoms:
- Go to physical and occupational therapy. A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain. An occupational therapist teaches you skills to help with your daily activities.
- Massage and stretch your muscles to help prevent stiffness and loss of movement.
- Hydrotherapy is a gentle water exercise program. It may strengthen muscles and help improve movement.
Protect your skin:
- Wear sunscreen that is SPF15 or higher. It should also have UVA and UVB protection. Reapply sunscreen often if you go swimming or are sweating heavily. Protect your lips by using lipsticks and lip balms that contain sunscreen.
- Stay out of the sun in the middle of the day. The sun is strongest and most harmful to your skin between 10am and 2pm.
- Cover your skin. Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when you are out in the sun. Wear a hat with a wide brim to protect both your face and neck.
- Do not use tanning booths. These can damage your skin as much as the sun.
Follow up with your PHP as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Contact your PHP if:
- You have a fever.
- You are depressed.
- You are weaker than usual.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You cannot move your arm or leg.
- You have severe pain.
- You have trouble breathing.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.