While you may initially consult your family physician, he or she may refer you to a specialist, depending on which of your organ systems is affected by the infection. For example, a dermatologist specializes in skin conditions, while a cardiologist treats heart disorders. Or you may be referred to a doctor who specializes in infectious diseases.
What you can do
You may want to write a list that includes:
- Detailed descriptions of your symptoms
- Information about medical problems you've had
- Information about the medical problems of your parents or siblings
- All the medications and dietary supplements you take
- Questions you want to ask the doctor
For staph infection, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- What kind of tests do I need?
- What's the best treatment for a staph infection?
- Am I contagious?
- How can I tell if my infection is getting better or worse?
- Are there any activity restrictions that I need to follow?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?
- Do you have any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor will likely ask you a number of questions, such as:
June 11, 2014
- When did you first notice your symptoms? Could you describe them to me?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- Have you been around anyone with a staph infection?
- Do you have any implanted medical devices, such as an artificial joint or a pacemaker?
- Do you have any ongoing medical conditions, including an impaired immune system?
- Have you recently been in the hospital?
- Do you play contact sports?
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed March 3, 2014.
- Papadakis MA, ed., et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2014. 53rd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2014. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=1. Accessed March 3, 2014.
- Impetigo and ecthyma. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/dermatologic_disorders/bacterial_skin_infections/impetigo_and_ecthyma.html. Accessed March 4, 2014.
- Cellulitis. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/dermatologic_disorders/bacterial_skin_infections/cellulitis.html. Accessed March 4, 2014.
- Fowler VG, et al. Clinical manifestations of Staphylococcus aureus infection. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 3, 2014.
- Ryan KJ, et al, eds. Sherris Medical Microbiology. 5th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2010. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/content.aspx?bookid=375&Sectionid=40299152. Accessed March 03, 2014.
- Staphylococcal food poisoning. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/staphylococcus_food_g.htm. Accessed March 3, 2014.
- Staphylococcal infections. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/infectious_diseases/gram-positive_cocci/staphylococcal_infections.html#v1005218. Accessed March 4, 2014.
- Collins CJ, et al. Infectious disease outbreaks in competitive sports, 2005-2010. Journal of Athletic Training. 2012;47:516.
- General information about MRSA in the community. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/mrsa/community/index.html. Accessed March 3, 2014.
- Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) — Prevention. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/antimicrobialResistance/Examples/mrsa/Pages/prevention.aspx. Accessed March 4, 2014.
- Liu C, et al. Clinical practice guidelines by the Infectious Diseases Society of America for the treatment of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus infections in adults and children. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2011;52:285.
- Menstruation and the menstrual cycle. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health. http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/menstruation.html. Accessed March 3, 2014.