Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a primary care provider. However, in some cases, you may be referred to a doctor who specializes in treating lung disease (pulmonologist) or infectious diseases, or you may be advised to go to an emergency department.

What you can do

  • Write down key information about your illness, including all the symptoms you're experiencing. Record your temperature.
  • Tell your doctor if you've recently been away from home and where you stayed. If anyone you regularly associate with has an illness similar to yours, mention that to your doctor as well.
  • Write down personal information, including recent hospitalizations.
  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements you're taking.
  • Bring a family member or friend along, if possible. Someone who goes with you may help you remember the information your doctor provides.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Questions you might ask your doctor include:

  • What is likely causing my symptoms?
  • What are other possible causes?
  • What tests do I need?
  • What is the best course of action?
  • What are the alternatives to the approach you're suggesting?
  • I have other health conditions. How will this illness affect them?
  • Is it possible to avoid hospitalization? If not, how many days will I be hospitalized?

Don't hesitate to ask any other questions you have.

What to expect from your doctor

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

  • When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
  • Have your symptoms been continuous?
  • Have your symptoms been worsening since their onset?
  • What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?

What you can do in the meantime

To keep from making your condition worse, follow these tips:

  • Don't smoke or be around smoke.
  • Don't drink alcohol.
  • Stay out of work or school, and rest as much as you can.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.

If you get sicker before you see a doctor, go to an emergency room.

Jan. 02, 2014

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