Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor. 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.
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. 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 them together?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing me?
- 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:
- 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?
- Histoplasmosis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/nczved/divisions/dfbmd/diseases/histoplasmosis. Accessed Dec. 20, 2011.
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- Wheat J, et al. Pathogenesis and clinical features of pulmonary histoplasmosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Dec. 20, 2011.
- Hage CH, et al. Histoplasmosis: Introduction. In: 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 Dec. 20, 2011.
- Fort GG, et al. Histoplasmosis. In: Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2012: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05611-3..C2009-0-38601-8--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05611-3&uniqId=291436269-101. Accessed Dec. 20, 2011.
- Davies SF, et al. Fungal infections: Histoplasmosis. In: Mason RJ, et al. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/192068760-2/0/1288/0.html. Accessed Dec. 20, 2011.
- Histoplasmosis: Protecting workers at risk. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2005-109. Accessed Dec. 20, 2011.
- What is ARDS? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/ards. Accessed Dec. 20, 2011.
- Van Duin D. Histoplasmosis. In: Bope ET, et al. Conn's Current Therapy. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-0986-5..C2009-0-38984-9--TOP&isbn=978-1-4377-0986-5&about=true&uniqId=236797353-5. Accessed Dec. 20, 2011.