Preparing for your appointment

What you can do

When you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as fasting before having a specific test. Make a list of:

  • Symptoms you or your child has, including any that seem unrelated to the reason for your appointment
  • Key personal information, including major stresses, recent life changes and family medical history and possible sources of recent infection
  • All medications, vitamins or other supplements you or your child takes, including the doses
  • Questions to ask your doctor

Take a family member or friend along, if possible, to help you remember the information you're given.

For strep throat, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What's likely causing these signs and symptoms?
  • What are other possible causes?
  • What tests are needed?
  • What treatment approach do you recommend?
  • How soon do you expect symptoms to improve with treatment?
  • How long will this be contagious? When is it safe to return to school or work?
  • What self-care steps might help?
  • Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?

Don't hesitate to ask other questions.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask a number of questions, including:

  • When did the symptoms begin?
  • Have the symptoms changed over time?
  • How severe are the symptoms?
  • Have you or your child been exposed to anyone with strep throat in the last couple of weeks?
  • Does anything seem to make the symptoms better or worse?
  • Have you or your child been diagnosed with strep throat in the past? When? How was it treated?
  • Have you or your child been diagnosed with any other medical conditions?

What you can do in the meantime

If you think you or your child might have a strep infection, take steps to avoid spreading infection:

  • Keep your hands clean, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and don't share personal items.
  • Gargling with 1/4 teaspoon (1.42 grams) of table salt in 8 ounces (237 milliliters) of warm water also may help.
  • Resting, drinking fluids, eating soft foods and taking pain relievers, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) may ease symptoms.
Dec. 16, 2015
References
  1. Is it strep throat? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/Features/strepthroat/?authent_user=Stratford_Sub_Castle\hwaters&authent_user_sig=199dce7b3832cd37039a9b6ede9f36ba&authent_session=6eed9f36dca4e6ffbf7a5d42b3457d94&authent_session_sig=f0e63cbb1201bbd31e400fd39ac35a27. Accessed Oct. 5, 2015.
  2. Pichichero ME. Complications of streptococcal tonsillopharyngitis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 5, 2015.
  3. Clinical practice guideline for the diagnosis and management of group A streptococcal pharyngitis: 2012 update by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Arlington, Va.: Infectious Disease Society of America. http://www.idsociety.org/Search.aspx?&lcid=9&q=strep&tz=America%2FChicago. Accessed Oct. 5, 2015.
  4. Sore throats. American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation/soreThroats.cfm. Accessed Oct. 5, 2015.
  5. Pichichero ME. Treatment and prevention of streptococcal tonsillopharyngitis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 5, 2015.