Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
You're likely to start by first seeing your family doctor or a primary care provider. However, in some cases, you may be referred immediately to a doctor who specializes in treating lung disease (pulmonologist) or an infectious diseases doctor, or advised to go to an emergency department.
What you can do
- Write down key information about your illness, including all the symptoms you're experiencing. Record your temperature.
- Tell your doctor if you've recently been away from home, and where you stayed. If anyone you regularly associate with has an illness similar to yours, mention that to your doctor as well.
- Write down personal information, including recent hospitalizations.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements that you're taking.
- Bring a family member or friend along, if possible. It may be difficult to soak up all the information provided to you during an appointment. Someone who goes with you may help you remember.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Questions you might ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?
- Other than the most likely cause, what are other possible causes?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- What is the best course of action?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach you're suggesting?
- I have other health conditions. How will this illness affect them?
- Is it possible to avoid hospitalization? If not, how many days will I be hospitalized?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment any time that you don't understand or need information clarified.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, including:
- When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous?
- Have your symptoms been worsening since their onset?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
What you can do in the meantime
To keep from making your condition worse:
- Don't smoke or be around smoke.
- Don't drink alcohol.
- Stay out of work or school, and rest as much as you can.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- If you get sicker before you see a doctor, go to an emergency room.
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