You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or your child's doctor. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Write down any symptoms. Be sure to to include any and all symptoms you or your child is experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to an upper respiratory infection. Also note when the symptoms started.
- Write down key personal information. Your doctor will want to know if your child was born prematurely or if he or she has a heart or lung problem.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor. Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out.
- Write down details about potential exposures. Note where might your child have been exposed to respiratory infections, such as at daycare.
For respiratory syncytial virus, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing these symptoms? Are there other possible causes?
- What tests might be needed?
- How long do symptoms usually last?
- What is the best course of action?
- Will I or my child need to take medication? If you're prescribing a brand-name medication, is there a generic alternative?
- What can I do to make my child feel better?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?
- To what extent should I isolate my child while infected?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:
- When did you first notice symptoms?
- Have symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- How severe are your or your child's symptoms?
- What, if anything, seems to improve symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen symptoms?
- Is anyone else in the family ill? What symptoms does he or she have?
What you can do in the meantime
If your child has a fever, you can give him or her acetaminophen (Tylenol, others). Have your child drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Keeping your child upright and the air moist with a humidifier also may help ease congestion.
Jul. 08, 2014
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- Understanding RSV. American Lung Association. http://www.lung.org/lung-disease/respiratory-syncytial-virus/understanding-rsv.html. Accessed May 14, 2014.
- Kliegman RM, et al. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed May 15, 2014.
- Respiratory syncytial virus infection (RSV) — Treatment. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/rsv/understanding/Pages/treatment.aspx. Accessed May 15, 2014.
- Barr FE, et al. Respiratory syncytial virus infection: Treatment. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 15, 2014.
- Symptom relief. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/antibiotic-use/symptom-relief.html. Accessed May 15, 2014.
- Policy statement — Modified recommendations for use of Palivizumab for prevention of respiratory syncytial virus infections. American Academy of Pediatrics Policy. http://aappolicy.aappublications.org. Accessed May 14, 2014.
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