Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

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 you or your child is experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to an upper respiratory infection, and when they started.
  • Write down key personal information, such as 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 child care or other potential exposures to respiratory infections.

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 at any time that you don't understand something.

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. 29, 2011