Most people don't need to seek medical attention for a salmonella infection because it clears up on its own within a few days. However, in cases involving infants, young children, and older or immunocompromised adults, call your doctor if the illness lasts more than a few days, is associated with high fever or bloody stools, or if it appears to be causing dehydration.
If you make an appointment with your doctor, it's a good idea to prepare for it. Here's some information to help you.
What you can do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, be sure to ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your diet.
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Write down key personal information, including any major stresses, recent life changes or recent travel.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements you're taking.
- Bring a family member or friend along, if possible. Someone who accompanies you may remember information you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Preparing a list of questions for your doctor will help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important. For salmonella infection, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?
- Other than the most likely cause, what are other possible causes for my symptoms or condition?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- What is the best course of action?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach you're suggesting?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Are there any restrictions I need to follow?
- Should I see a specialist?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
Don't hesitate to ask any other questions you have.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor will need to know:
- When the illness began
- The frequency of the vomiting or diarrhea
- Whether the vomitus or diarrheal stool contains visible bile, mucus or blood
- If you have a fever
- If you've recently traveled outside the country
What you can do in the meantime
To prevent dehydration, drink water or suck on ice chips. To prevent dehydration in children, use an oral rehydration solution, such as Pedialyte, unless your doctor advises otherwise.
Apr. 16, 2011
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