You'll probably first see your primary care doctor. Depending on the severity of your infection, as well as which of your organ systems is affected by the infection, your doctor may refer you to a specialist. For example, a dermatologist specializes in skin conditions, and a pulmonologist treats lung disorders.
What you can do
You may want to write a list that includes:
- Detailed descriptions of your symptoms
- Information about medical problems you've had
- Information about your parents' or siblings' medical problems
- All the medications and dietary supplements you take
- Questions you want to ask the doctor
Preparing a list of questions for your doctor will help you make the most of your time together. For infectious diseases, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- Are there other possible causes for my symptoms?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- Is my condition likely temporary or long lasting?
- What treatment do you recommend?
- I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?
- 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?
Don't hesitate to ask any other questions that occur to you.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, including:
July 23, 2014
- When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
- Do your symptoms come and go, or do you have symptoms all the time?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- Have you recently come into contact with anyone who's sick?
- Have you been bitten or scratched by an animal or come into contact with animal feces?
- Do you have any insect bites?
- Have you eaten undercooked meat or unwashed vegetables?
- Have you been out of the country recently?
- Understanding microbes in sickness and in health. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/microbes/Pages/default.aspx. Accessed May 20, 2014.
- McPhee SJ, et al., eds. Pathophysiology of Disease. 6th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2010. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/content.aspx?bookid=339&Sectionid=42811304. Accessed May 20, 2014.
- Levinson W. Review of Medical Microbiology & Immunology. 12th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/content.aspx?bookid=400&Sectionid=42098466. Accessed May 20, 2014.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed May 20, 2014.
- Walker BR, et al., eds. Davidson's Principles and Practice of Medicine. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed May 22, 2014.
- Stopping the spread of germs at home, work & school. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/stopgerms.htm. Accessed May 22, 2014.
- Basics for Handling Food Safely. U.S. Department of Agriculture. http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/basics-for-handling-food-safely/ct_index. Accessed May 22, 2014.
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/std/prevention/default.htm. Accessed May 22, 2014.
- Viral meningitis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/viral.html#transmission. Accessed May 22, 2014.