After you make an appointment with your family doctor, general practitioner or pediatrician, it's a good idea to be well prepared for your appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and what to expect from the doctor.
What you can do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, be sure to ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your diet.
- Write down information about the fever, such as when it started, how and where you measured it (orally or rectally, for example) and any other symptoms. Note whether you or your child has been around anyone who's been ill.
- Write down key personal information, including any major stresses, recent life changes or recent travel out of the country.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements that you or your child is taking.
- Write down questions to ask the doctor.
Preparing a list of questions ahead of time will help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important. For fever, some basic questions to ask include:
- What is likely causing the fever?
- What else could be causing it?
- What kinds of tests are needed?
- What is the best course of action?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach you're suggesting?
- Is medicine necessary to lower the fever?
- Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
- Are there 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, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment anytime that you don't understand something.
What to expect from your doctor
Be prepared to answer questions your doctor is likely to ask you, including:
Jun. 01, 2011
- When did the symptoms first occur?
- What method did you use to take your or your child's temperature?
- Have you or your child taken any fever-lowering medication?
- What other symptoms are you or your child experiencing? How severe are they?
- Do you or your child have any chronic health conditions?
- What medications do you or your child regularly take?
- Have you or your child been around anyone who's ill?
- Have you or your child recently had surgery?
- Have you or your child recently traveled outside the country?
- What, if anything, seems to improve the symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen the symptoms?
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- Fever. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/sec14/ch167/ch167e.html. Accessed April 28, 2011.
- Torpy J. Fever in infants. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2004;291:1284.
- Fever, sweats and hot flashes. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/supportivecare/fever/healthprofessional. Accessed April 28, 2011.
- Febrile seizures fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/febrile_seizures/detail_febrile_seizures.htm. Accessed April 28, 2011.
- Ward MA. Pathophysiology and treatment of fever in infants and children. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed April 25, 2011.
- O'Grady N, et al. Guidelines for evaluation of new fever in critically ill adult patients: 2008 update from the American College of Critical Care Medicine and the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Critical Care Medicine, 2008;36:1330.
- Sullivan JE, et al. Clinical report — Fever and antipyretic use in children. Pediatrics. 2011;127:580.
- Leggett J. Approach to fever or suspected infection in the normal host. In: Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/linkTo?type=bookPage&isbn=978-1-4160-2805-5&eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-2805-5..50307-4. Accessed May 2, 2011.
- Bor DH. Approach to the adult with fever of unknown origin. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed April 25, 2011.