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Describing Illnesses in Spanish Conversa Spanish Institute

Describing Illnesses in Spanish

Learning a new language involves more than just mastering grammar and everyday phrases; it’s also about acquiring specific vocabulary that can be crucial in particular situations. One importrant area is the vocabulary related to sickness. For English speakers learning Spanish, understanding vocabulary on illnesses can be essential, especially when traveling, living abroad, or visiting a doctor. This article will explore some of the most important terms and phrases you need to know for when you get sick in Spanish.

Basic symptoms and conditions

First, let’s look at some common symptoms (los síntomas) and conditions (las condiciones):

  • Fever: la fiebre
  • Cough: la tos
  • Cold: el resfriado
  • Flu: la gripe
  • Headache: el dolor de cabeza
  • Stomachache: el dolor de estómago
  • Sore throat: el dolor de garganta
  • Runny nose: la nariz que moquea
  • Nausea: las náuseas
  • Vomiting: los vómitos

Understanding these basic terms can help you explain how you’re feeling or understand what others are experiencing. For example, if you have a fever, you can tell someone, “Tengo fiebre,” which means “I have a fever.”

Medical conditions

Beyond basic symptoms, there are more specific medical conditions (las condiciones médicas) that you might need to describe or understand:

  • Asthma: el asma
  • Diabetes: la diabetes
  • Hypertension: la hipertensión
  • Allergy: la alergia
  • Infection: la infección
  • Migraine: la migraña
  • Arthritis: la artritis

If you suffer from one of these conditions, it’s important to be able to communicate this. For instance, “I have asthma” translates to “Tengo asma.”

Describing pain

Describing pain (el dolor) accurately is also important. Remember that adjectives typically follow the noun in Spanish. Here are some useful terms:

  • Sharp pain: el dolor agudo
  • Dull pain: el dolor sordo
  • Burning pain: el dolor ardiente
  • Throbbing pain: el dolor palpitante
  • Chronic pain: el dolor crónico
  • Acute pain: el dolor agudo

When visiting a doctor, you might be asked to describe your pain. Saying “I have a sharp pain in my chest” would be “Tengo un dolor agudo en el pecho” in Spanish.

Common phrases in medical situations

Here are some phrases that could be useful in medical situations:

  • I need a doctor: Necesito un doctor.
  • I’m not feeling well: No me siento bien.
  • I need help: Necesito ayuda.
  • I have an emergency: Tengo una emergencia.
  • I am allergic to…: Soy alérgico/a a…
  • Where is the hospital?: ¿Dónde está el hospital?

Medications and treatments

Finally, knowing some common terms for medications (los medicamentos) and treatments (los tratamientos) can be very helpful:

  • Medicine: la medicina
  • Prescription: la receta médica
  • Antibiotics: los antibióticos
  • Painkillers: los analgésicos
  • Injection: la inyección
  • Surgery: la cirugía
  • Bandage: la venda

For instance, “I need painkillers” translates to “Necesito analgésicos.”

Mastering illness vocabulary in Spanish can make a significant difference in how effectively you communicate your health needs. Whether you’re explaining your symptoms to a doctor, asking for medication at a pharmacy, or understanding someone else’s health issues, this knowledge is invaluable. Practice these terms and phrases, and you’ll be better prepared for any medical situation that arises.

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