Preparing for your appointment

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?

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, including:

  • When did your symptoms begin?
  • 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?
Aug. 17, 2017
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