You're likely to start by seeing your primary care provider. He or she might refer you to a doctor who specializes in infectious diseases. Depending on your symptoms and the severity of your infection, you may also see other doctors, such as a lung specialist (pulmonologist) or a heart specialist (cardiologist).
What you can do
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Write down key personal information, including any possible exposure to areas with numerous birds or bats.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements that you're taking.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
For histoplasmosis, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- How could I have gotten this infection?
- What kinds of tests do I need? Do these tests require any special preparation?
- Will this infection get better on its own, or do I need treatment?
- What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
- What types of side effects can I expect from treatment?
- Are there any alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?
- Can I get infected again?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:
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- When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- Do you work outdoors?
- Have you spent an extended time in areas with large populations of birds?
- Have you spent any time in caves? Or other areas where bats might congregate?
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2015: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2015. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Nov. 30, 2014.
- Information for healthcare professionals about histoplasmosis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/histoplasmosis/health-professionals.html. Accessed Nov. 30, 2014.
- Histoplasmosis: Protecting workers at risk. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2005-109. Accessed Nov. 30, 2014.
- 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 Nov. 30, 2014.
- Who gets histoplasmosis? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/histoplasmosis/risk-prevention.html. Accessed Nov. 30, 2014.
- Mason RJ, et al. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Nov. 30, 2014.
- What is ARDS? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/ards. Accessed Dec. 2, 2014.
- Wheat J, et al. Diagnosis and treatment of pulmonary histoplasmosis. http://www.uptodate.com. Accessed Nov. 30, 2014.