Talking to Your Doctor About Viral Upper Respiratory Infections (Colds and Influenza)
- Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
- Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
- Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
- Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
- Is there any chance this is more serious than a common cold (or a self-limited flu)?
- Do I have any medical conditions that might worsen because of this virus?
- What can I do to prevent complications?
- What treatments do you recommend?
- Do I need anything besides rest, good nutrition, humidified air, over-the counter (OTC) drugs, and maybe a warm bath?
- Do you have a favorite remedy, like honey and vinegar or herbs like Echinacea?
- Should I get a flu shot each year?
- Is there anyone around me who might need special protection because of my virus?
- Should I, or anyone I live with, take preventive doses of medication (medicine to prevent the flu)?
- Should I call if I am not getting better in 10 days or if I’m getting worse at anytime?
- What other symptoms should I be on the lookout for?
Beers MH, Berkow R. The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy . 17th ed. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons; 1999.
Fauci AS, Braunwald E, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine . 14th ed. New York, NY: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2000.
- Reviewer: David L. Horn, MD, FACP
- Review Date: 09/2014 -
- Update Date: 09/17/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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