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Medical vocabulary in English

How have you been feeling lately? We all get coughs and colds every now and then.

So, just so you can talk about this, here’s some useful medical vocabulary in English! First, read and learn the useful expressions. Then, listen to the dialogue to improve your listening skills, and to help you remember the medical vocabulary in English.

1 Vocabulary

Asking about someone’s health
• How are you?
• How are you today?
• What’s wrong with you?
• What’s the matter with you?
• Are you all right?
• Everything OK?

Answering questions about your health

• Fine, thank you.
• Not too bad.
• Very well.
• I’m OK.
• I’m all right.
• I’m not too well, actually.
• I’m tired.
• I’m exhausted.
• I’ve got a cold.

Describing your symptoms

• My nose is blocked up.
• He’s got a headache.
• Her back is sore.
• Does your stomach hurt?
• My eyes are swollen.
• She’s got a pain in her chest.

EXTRA: Coronavirus top tips

Here are some quick tips in English for avoiding the coronavirus.

• Wash your hands frequently!
• Maintain social distancing – at least 1 metre between yourself and anyone else.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
• Cover your mouth and nose with your arm or a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the tissue immediately.
• Stay home if you feel unwell.
• If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention.


2 Listening activity

Listening 1

You’re going to listen to a conversation. May (a British woman) is talking to Nancy (an American woman). Listen once. Who is feeling a bit sick: May (the first speaker) or Nancy? See below for the answers.

Listening 2

Listen again. Then, choose the correct answers.
1. What does she think she’s got? a) a cold b) a cough
2. What else is wrong? She’s got a… a) stomach ache b) headache
3. What time is it? It’s almost time for… a) dinner b) lunch
4. What does she want to drink? Some… a) coffee b) orange juice

5. What does her friend say it’s good to do? Drink a lot of… a) liquids b) tea

Listening 3

Now listen to the audio and read the script (see below) at the same time. This is great for your listening skills!

Audio script

May: Hey Nancy, how are you feeling?
Nancy: Oh, not too well, actually.
M: What’s wrong?
N: Well, I’m really congested. I think I’ve got a cold.
M: Oh, no, that’s terrible.
N: Yeah, and I’ve got a headache, so it’s been really hard to concentrate at work
M: Are you going to go home early?
N: I don’t know. It’s almost lunchtime, so I hope I can get through the whole day without anything terrible happening.
M: Oh, I’m so sorry. Well, if you need anything, let me know.
N: OK, thanks. Actually, do you have any orange juice? I hear that’s good for a cold.
M: Yeah, you need to drink lots of liquids. I’ll get you some right now.
N: Great, thanks.


Listening 1

Nancy is feeling a bit sick.

Listening 2

1a 2b 3b 4b 5a

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