Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

To get the most from your appointment, it's a good idea to be well prepared. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and to know what to expect from your doctor.

  • Write down any symptoms you've had, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
  • Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements you're taking.
  • Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to recall all the information provided to you during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time with your doctor. Some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • Are my symptoms likely caused by an allergy or another reaction?
  • Other than the most likely cause, what are other possible causes for my symptoms or condition?
  • What tests do I need?
  • Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
  • What's the best treatment?
  • What are the alternatives to the primary approach you're suggesting?
  • Are there any restrictions I need to follow?
  • Should I see a specialist?
  • Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
  • I have other medical problems. How can I manage them together?
  • Are there brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
  • Do I need to carry an epinephrine autoinjector?

If your child is seeing the doctor for a peanut allergy, you may also want to ask:

  • Are there alternatives to the food or foods that trigger my child's allergy symptoms?
  • How can I help keep my child with peanut allergy safe at school?
  • Is my child likely to outgrow his or her allergy?

Don't hesitate to ask any other questions.

What to expect from your doctor

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

  • When did you begin noticing symptoms?
  • After eating peanuts, how long did it take symptoms to appear?
  • What quantity of peanuts did you eat?
  • Did you take any over-the-counter allergy medications, such as antihistamines, and if so, did they help?
  • Does your reaction seem to be triggered only by peanuts or by other foods as well?
  • How severe are your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?

What you can do in the meantime

If you suspect you have a peanut allergy, avoid exposure to peanuts until your doctor's appointment. If you have a severe reaction, seek emergency help.

Jun. 27, 2012