You may start by seeing a primary care doctor, or you may be referred to a doctor who specializes in infectious diseases or in lung disease (pulmonologist).
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment and know what to expect from the doctor.
What you can do
- Keep a record of any symptoms, including your temperature.
- Write down key medical information, including recent hospitalizations and any medical conditions you have.
- Write down key personal information, including exposure to any chemicals or toxins.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements that you're taking.
- Bring a family member or friend along, if possible, to help you remember questions to ask and what your doctor said.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Questions to ask your doctor
Some basic questions to ask the doctor include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- What treatment do you recommend?
- Will I need to be hospitalized?
- I have other health conditions. How will my pneumonia affect them?
- Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
Don't hesitate to ask other questions.
What to expect from the doctor
Be ready to answer questions your doctor may ask:
- When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional? How severe are they?
- What, if anything, seems to improve or worsen your symptoms?
- Have you traveled or been exposed to chemicals or toxic substances?
- Have you been exposed to sick people at home, school or work?
- Do you smoke?
- How much alcohol do you consume in a week?
- Have you had flu or pneumonia vaccinations?
What you can do in the meantime
To avoid making your condition worse:
May. 21, 2013
- Don't smoke or be around smoke
- Drink plenty of fluids and get plenty of rest
- Pneumonia. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.1.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/pnu/. Accessed April 17, 2013.
- AskMayoExpert. What diagnostic evaluation should be done in an outpatient with suspected community acquired pneumonia? Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2013.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=9112783. Accessed April. 18, 2013.
- Schauner S, et al. Community-acquired pneumonia in children: A look at the IDSA guidelines. The Journal of Family Practice. 2013;62:9. Accessed April 19, 2013.
- Attridge RT, et al. Health care-associated pneumonia: An evidence-based review. The American Journal of Medicine. 2011;124:689. Accessed April 18, 2013.
- Hunter JD. Ventilator associated pneumonia. BMJ. 2012;344:e3325. Accessed April 19, 2013.
- Dockrell DH, et al. Pneumococcal pneumonia: Mechanisms of infection and resolution. Chest. 2012;142:482. Accessed April 18, 2013.
- Reynolds RH, et al. Pneumonia in the immunocompetent patient. The British Journal of Radiology. 2010;83:998. Accessed April 18, 2013.
- Rosenow EC (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 23, 2013.