Before doing a physical examination, doctors interview the person. Doctors ask the person to describe current symptoms:
The person is also asked about past or present illnesses and past operations, serious illnesses in close blood relatives, allergies, and drugs currently being taken. Questions about work, social contacts, and travel may be asked to find out whether the person has been exposed to unusual infections or toxins. In addition, doctors may ask whether the person has had work-related or home-related difficulties, such as loss of a loved one, because such circumstances may affect the person's health and ability to cope with illness. Other questions are asked to identify any symptoms that the person may have overlooked or thought unimportant when describing the main problem.
Last full review/revision October 2007 by Michael Jacewicz, MD