Dr. Prabathan Raju reveals important facts to tell your doctor when visiting with an ailment to get the best and most accurate diagnosis and treatment:
“Doctor, I am not well, my fever started an hour ago and I would like to be admitted!”
That’s one of the common statements doctors will hear in the emergency department of hospitals. Unfortunately, when doctors hear this, they are unable to provide much treatment except for a couple of strips of Paracetamol and to ask the patient to come back in a day or two for review. Which is not worth your taking your day off and the long waits in the hall.
A disease is a process that actively growing and has its own progression over time. If there are no signs and symptoms of illnesses present within the first few hours, doctors are forced to make a provisional (temporary) diagnosis. Then, they will treat it by prescribing a minimal number of medications until further investigations and consultations can be made. Little did you know that this cycle is actually a burden to our healthcare system.
In order to avoid unnecessary trips to the hospital, take note of the following statements the next time you are down with:
- Keep track of the time and day it started as this information will really help the doctor with diagnosis.
- Be straightforward by telling your doctor your recorded temperature of, for example 38.4°C is more helpful than describing your fever as “feeling cold, body feeling warm, feeling hot inside”.
- If your child is with a babysitter and is not feeling well, please furnish the babysitter with a body thermometer if they don’t have one on hand. This is to help them to take accurate temperature records so the doctor doesn’t over-treat for presumably minor conditions.
- Remember to mention if you are coughing with phlegm and its colour: – A dry cough is different from having difficulty in ‘bringing out’ or expectorating the phlegm. – The colour of the phlegm may vary from white, yellow and green.
- Blood in the phlegm is something that needs to be seen by a doctor urgently and take note of how much was coughed out or even a photo can be helpful.
- In children it is helpful to tell the difference between coughing with phlegm and just vomiting.
Flu & Sore Throat
- Most importantly, let your doctor know when it started and if there was any fever involved.
- The colour of your mucus from a ‘runny nose’ will also be helpful.
- Also, inform your doctor if you had contact with anyone in the workplace or nursery that may be diagnosed with flu.
- It is important to let your doctor know how soon after your last meal did the vomiting start and what was the last meal that you had.
- Was there any abdominal pain before or after the vomiting started?
- Describing a little of what the vomitus (matter that has been vomited) looked like, will help a lot. Generally, it will include undigested food, clear gastric juice, yellow-green bile or even blood.
- Tell your doctor the number of times you have vomited to give them an idea of how much fluids have been lost.
- Take note of when it started in relation to the meal.
- What it looks like (watery, like porridge, yellow-green and etc).
- How often you have had to run to the toilet.
- It’s essential to let your doctor know if there is any pain, increase in frequency of going to the toilet and how the urine looks like.
- Some itchiness in the groin area is sometimes the only symptom of a underlying infection.
- In many cases, it is useful to disclose personal and potentially embarrassing information such as sexual activity or any recent procedures/medication that has been taken.
- Most ladies have a good idea of their menstrual cycles and are able to tell a doctor the number of sanitary hygiene products they use in a day during menstruation.
- Although, not many can differentiate between fully soaked / half soaked or even spotting on their sanitary hygiene products, it’s safer to take note if anything is different from the usual.
- Practicing Breast self-examination helps you to be aware if there’s any changes that may be occurring and can prompt you to visit your doctor is anything seems out of place.
- Describing pain is not easy to do but it can make the biggest difference to treating and managing your problem. Look out on:
- Where is the pain and when it started?
- Was there any recent physical activity or direct injury to the area involved?
- Does it stay in the same place or if the pain goes anywhere else?
- What time of day does the pain occur and is it constant or comes and goes?
- Is there anything that helps reduce the pain?
It is impossible to cover 5-6 years of medical training that your doctors’ have within a short consultation or in this post. But, the point of this, is for you to understand that providing your doctor with the right information can make the biggest difference in your treatment and outcome. Although it is necessary for the doctor to be vigilant and ask you any questions when in doubt, you know your own body better so you are the best person to tell us about it. Be healthy and get to know more about your health today. If you or your elderly parents are looking for transport to the hospital, check out Door2Door Doctor.