Preparing for your appointment

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:

  • 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?

What you can do in the meantime

If you suspect you have a staph infection on your skin, keep the area clean and covered until you see your doctor so that you don't spread the bacteria. And, until you know whether or not you have staph, don't prepare food.