Preparing for your appointment

Your appointment may be with your family doctor, general practitioner or pediatrician. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment and know what to expect from the doctor.

What you can do

  • Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. When you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do in advance.
  • 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 possible exposure to anyone who's been ill 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.

For a fever, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What's likely causing the fever?
  • Could anything else be causing it?
  • What kinds of tests are needed?
  • What treatment approach do you recommend? Are there any alternatives?
  • Is medicine necessary to lower the fever? What are the side effects of such medications?
  • Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
  • Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
  • Do you have any printed materials that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?

Don't hesitate to ask other questions during your appointment as they occur to you.

What to expect from your doctor

Be prepared to answer questions your doctor might ask you, such as:

  • When did the symptoms first occur?
  • What method did you use to take your or your child's temperature?
  • What was the temperature of the environment surrounding you or your child?
  • 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?
July 21, 2017
References
  1. Goldman L, et al., eds. Approach to fever or suspected infection in the normal host. In: Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2016. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed April 5, 2017.
  2. Fever. Merck Manual Professional Version. https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/infectious-diseases/biology-of-infectious-disease/fever. Accessed April 5, 2017.
  3. Fever in infants and children. Merck Manual Professional Version. https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/pediatrics/symptoms-in-infants-and-children/fever-in-infants-and-children. Accessed April 5, 2017.
  4. Bennett JE, et al., eds. Temperature regulation and the pathogenesis of fever. In: Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2015. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed April 6, 2017.
  5. Kliegman RM, et al. Fever. In: Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2016. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed April 6, 2017.
  6. Ward MA. Fever in infants and children: Pathophysiology and management. https://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 6, 2017.
  7. Schmitt BD. Fever. In: Pediatric Telephone Protocols: Office Version. 15th ed. Elk Grove Village, Ill.: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2015.
  8. Marx JA, et al., eds. Pediatric fever. In: Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2014. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed May 9, 2017.
  9. How to take a child's temperature. American Academy of Pediatrics. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/fever/Pages/How-to-Take-a-Childs-Temperature.aspx. Accessed May 11, 2017.
  10. Ward MA. Patient education: Fever in children (Beyond the basics). https://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 11, 2017.
  11. AskMayoExpert. Infant fever (age 90 days or younger). Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2016.
  12. Fever. Emergencies A-Z. American College of Emergency Physicians. http://www.emergencycareforyou.org/Emergency-101/Emergencies-A-Z/Fever. Accessed May 18, 2017.
  13. Marx JA, et al., eds. Fever in the adult patient. In: Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2014. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed May 18, 2017.
  14. Bor DH. Approach to the adult with fever of unknown origin. https://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 30, 2017.
  15. Febrile seizures fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Febrile-Seizures-Fact-Sheet. Accessed May 31, 2017.
  16. When and how to wash your hands. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html. Accessed May 31, 2017.
  17. Cover your cough. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/covercough.htm. Accessed May 31, 2017.