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.
Dec. 16, 2015
- Is it strep throat? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/Features/strepthroat/?authent_user=Stratford_Sub_Castle\hwaters&authent_user_sig=199dce7b3832cd37039a9b6ede9f36ba&authent_session=6eed9f36dca4e6ffbf7a5d42b3457d94&authent_session_sig=f0e63cbb1201bbd31e400fd39ac35a27. Accessed Oct. 5, 2015.
- Pichichero ME. Complications of streptococcal tonsillopharyngitis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 5, 2015.
- Clinical practice guideline for the diagnosis and management of group A streptococcal pharyngitis: 2012 update by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Arlington, Va.: Infectious Disease Society of America. http://www.idsociety.org/Search.aspx?&lcid=9&q=strep&tz=America%2FChicago. Accessed Oct. 5, 2015.
- Sore throats. American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation/soreThroats.cfm. Accessed Oct. 5, 2015.
- Pichichero ME. Treatment and prevention of streptococcal tonsillopharyngitis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 5, 2015.