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.