Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Some people have such mild symptoms of shingles that they don't seek medical treatment. At the other extreme, severe symptoms may result in a visit to the emergency room.

What you can do

You may want to write a list that includes:

  • A detailed description of your symptoms
  • Information about your medical problems, past and present
  • Information about the medical problems of your parents or siblings
  • All the medications and dietary supplements you take

Preparing a list of questions ahead of time will help you make the most of your limited time with your doctor. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For shingles, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
  • Are there other possible causes for my symptoms?
  • Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
  • What treatment do you recommend? How quickly will I start to feel better?
  • What if my symptoms don't improve?
  • What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
  • Are there any dietary restrictions that I need to follow?
  • Is there a generic or over-the-counter alternative to the medicine you're prescribing me?
  • Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
  • What caused me to develop shingles?

In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions any time you don't understand something.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor will examine your rash and may ask some of the following questions:

  • When did your symptoms begin?
  • Does anything make them better or worse?
  • Do you know if you've ever had chickenpox?
Sep. 01, 2011