Preparing for your appointment

You're likely to start by taking your child to your family doctor or your child's pediatrician. However, when you call to set up an appointment, you may be referred to an allergist, lung doctor (pulmonologist) or other specialist. Here's some information to help you get ready for your child's appointment, and to know what to expect from the doctor.

What you can do

These steps can help you make the most of your child's appointment:

  • Write down any symptoms your child has had, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
  • Note when symptoms bother your child most — for example, if symptoms tend to get worse at certain times of the day; during certain seasons; when your child is exposed to cold air, pollen or other triggers; or when he or she is playing hard or participating in sports.
  • Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes your child has had.
  • Make a list of medications, vitamins and supplements your child takes.
  • Write down questions to ask the doctor.

Preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of the appointment. For asthma or asthma-like symptoms, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • Is asthma the most likely cause of my child's breathing problems?
  • Other than the most likely cause, what else could be causing my child's symptoms?
  • What tests does my child need?
  • Is my child's condition likely temporary or chronic?
  • What's the best treatment?
  • What are the alternatives to the primary approach you're suggesting?
  • My child has these other health conditions. How can we best manage them together?
  • Are there any restrictions my child needs to follow?
  • Should my child see a specialist?
  • Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing for my child?
  • Are there brochures or other printed materials I can have? What websites do you recommend?

Don't hesitate to ask any other questions you have.

What to expect from your child's doctor

The doctor is likely to ask a number of questions, including:

  • What are your child's symptoms?
  • When did you first notice his or her symptoms?
  • How severe are your child's symptoms?
  • Does your child have breathing problems most of the time or only at certain times or in certain situations?
  • Does your child have allergies, such as atopic dermatitis or hay fever?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen your child's symptoms?
  • What, if anything, seems to improve your child's symptoms?
  • Do allergies or asthma run in your child's family?
  • Does your child have any chronic health problems?