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.