If you suspect that you have bird flu, you need to see your primary care doctor. Let people know you may have flu and ask for a surgical mask to wear during your visit. If you are very ill, you may need to be hospitalized.
What you can do
- Symptom history. Write down any symptoms you've been experiencing and for how long.
- Recent exposure to possible sources of infection. Be sure to describe any international trips, especially to areas where bird flu is prevalent.
- Medical history. Make a list of your key medical information, including other conditions for which you're being treated and any medications, vitamins or supplements you're currently taking.
- Questions to ask your doctor. Write down your questions in advance so that you can make the most of your time with your doctor.
For bird flu, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- Will I need any tests?
- What's the best treatment approach? Are there any alternatives?
- Will I need to take medicine?
- What can I do at home to help ease my symptoms?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor will need to know certain details about your illness to make a diagnosis. Be prepared to answer questions such as:
Sept. 25, 2014
- When did you start feeling ill?
- Have you had a fever? If so, how high has it gotten?
- Have you had any close contact with birds recently?
- Have you traveled abroad recently? If so, where did you go?
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2015: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2015. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 8, 2014.
- Mandell GL, et al. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2010. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 8, 2014.
- Thorner AR. Avian influenza A H7N9: Epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 7, 2014.
- Thorner AR. Avian influenza A H7N9: Treatment and prevention. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 7, 2014.
- Avian influenza: Fact sheet. World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/avian_influenza/en/#. Accessed Aug. 10, 2014.
- What consumers need to know about avian influenza. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm085550.htm. Accessed Aug, 15, 2014.
- Mertz D, et al. Populations at risk for severe or complicated avian influenza H5N1: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLOS. 2014;9:1.
- Key facts about influenza (flu) & flu vaccine. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/keyfacts.htm. Accessed Aug. 15, 2014.
- Prevention and treatment of avian influenza A viruses in people. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avianflu/prevention.htm. Accessed Aug. 15, 2014.
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