You'll likely start by seeing your family doctor or primary care provider. But in some cases, when you call to set up an appointment, you might be referred instead to a doctor who specializes in infectious diseases.
Because appointments can be brief, and because there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be well prepared for your appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Write down key personal information. List your international travel history, with dates and countries visited and medications taken while traveling. Bring a record of your immunizations, including pre-travel immunizations.
- Make a list of all your medications. Include any vitamins or supplements you take regularly.
- Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to soak up all the information conveyed during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor. Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out.
For dengue fever, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- What's the best course of action?
- How long will it be before I'm feeling better?
- Are there any long-term effects of this illness?
- Do you have any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask for further explanation if you're confused.
What to expect from your doctor
Be prepared to answer questions from your doctor, such as:
Sep. 30, 2011
- When did your symptoms begin?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- Does anything seem to make your symptoms better or worse?
- Where have you traveled in the past month?
- Were you bitten by mosquitoes while traveling?
- Have you been in contact recently with anyone who was ill?
- Frequently asked questions: Dengue. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/Dengue/faqFacts/index.html. Accessed July 21, 2011.
- Rothman AL. Clinical presentation and diagnosis of dengue virus infections. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed July 21, 2011.
- Nathan MB, et al. Dengue: Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment, prevention and control. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2009. Accessed July 27, 2011.
- Vaughn DW, et al. Dengue and dengue hemorrhagic fever. In: Mandell JE, et al. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-443-06839-3..X0001-X--TOP&isbn=978-0-443-06839-3&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed July 27, 2011.
- Dengue and dengue hemorrhagic fever. World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs117/en. Accessed July 27, 2011.
- Bell M. Viral hemorrhagic fevers. In: Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/191371208-2/0/1492/0.html#. Accessed July 27, 2011.
- Rothman AL. Prevention and treatment of dengue virus infection. http://www.uptodate.com. Accessed Aug. 3, 2011.