Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If you or your child needs to see a doctor, you'll likely see your primary care provider first. If there are questions about the diagnosis, your doctor may refer you to an infectious disease specialist.

What you can do

Your time with your doctor is often limited, so preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time together. Some questions you might want to ask your doctor or your child's doctor include:

  • What's the likely cause of the symptoms? Are there other possible causes?
  • Is there a need for any tests?
  • What's the best treatment approach? Are there any alternatives?
  • Do I need to take any medicine? If yes, is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
  • How can I ease the symptoms?

What to expect from your doctor

Some questions the doctor may ask include:

  • Has anyone in your family or otherwise close to you developed similar symptoms? If so, did you both eat the same things?
  • Have you traveled anywhere where the water or food supply might not be safe?
  • Are you having bloody bowel movements?
  • Do you have a fever?
  • Have you taken any antibiotics in the days or weeks before your symptoms started?
  • When did symptoms first begin?
  • Have the symptoms been continuous or do they come and go?
  • Can you recall what foods you've eaten in the past few days?

What you can do in the meantime

Drink plenty of fluids. Stick with bland foods to reduce stress on your digestive system. If your child is sick, follow the same approach — offer plenty of fluids and bland food. If you're breast-feeding or using formula, continue to feed your child as usual. Ask your child's doctor if giving your child an oral rehydration fluid, such as Pedialyte, is appropriate. Medications that help ease diarrhea generally aren't recommended because in some cases, they can make food poisoning more severe and longer lasting.

Jun. 16, 2011