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Health Problems

English Vocabulary
The most common ways to ask about someone's health are:

 How do you feel (today)?

 How are you feeling?
 Is everything okay?
 How are you?
 How are you today?
 What's wrong with you?/ What's wrong?
 What's the matter with you?/ What's the matter?
 Are you all right?
 Are you not feeling well?
 How is it going?

They will most likely respond:

 I'm fine.  Not too bad.

 I feel sick. /I'm sick/ ill.  OK
 Not so good.  All right.
 Not very well.  I am tired.
 I don't feel well.  I have got a cold.
 Fine, thanks.  I feel quite better today.
If the person wants to say what is wrong, they may give the reason they feel that way:

 I have ... (+ health condition)

 I've got ... (+ health condition)
 I have a headache
 I've got a sore throat.

This is a list of vocabulary items related to health and health care

How to say you are ill

 I'm ill.
 I feel really rough.
 I'm shattered (meaning tired out or exhausted)
 I'm on my last legs (to be very tired, especially after a lot of physical activity or work. It also
means to be going to die soon - 'the old man is on his last leg').
 I feel / look poorly / peaky / rough / bloody awful.
 I feel / look like death warmed up (very ill or appearing very sickly - Poor thing! She looks like
death warmed up)

How to say you are feeling OK

 I am alive and kicking (to continue to be well, healthy or successful - Don't worry about your
grandfather; he is alive and kicking)
 I feel good (used to talk about emotional state)
 I feel great / well
 He is a picture of (good) health (to be in a very healthy condition - The doctor told him that he is
a picture of good health)
 She is hale and hearty (to be in a good health - In spite of her old age, she looks hale and hearty)
Health problems

 I have a headache / toothache / backache / stomachache / earache...

 I have a pain in my back / tooth / head...
 I have a broken / sprained / twist an ankle / wrist.
 I have a flu / cold / runny nose / fever / high temperature / sore throat
 I feel sick. I'm feeling nauseous.
 I have a bruise / cut / graze / wound.

Health advice:

 Exercise regularly.
 Eat healthy food.
 Brush your teeth regularly.
 Sleep early (= don't stay up late!)
 Have regular medical check up.
 Relax.
 Go on a diet.

 pain-killer
Medicines  pill
 plaster
 eye drops  tablet
 cream  tranquilizer
 syringe
 syrup Treatment
 bandage
 dose (of medicine)  check-up
 drugs  diagnosis
 shot / injection (give some an injection)  operation / surgery
 medicine (take medicine)  prescription
 doctor's
 ophthalmologist  pharmacy / drugstore /chemist's
 dentist  hospital
 doctor / physician  operating theater
 general practitioner (GP)  surgery (medical operation)
 midwife  waiting room
 nurse  ward (a geriatric/maternity/psychiatric
 patient ward)
 specialist
 surgeon

Types of illness
(adjective Allergic) To have a bad reaction to animals, dust, foods or plants. The symptoms are red eyes, runny
nose and sneezing.

(verb to Cough) Pronounced 'coff'. To force air out of the lungs making a loud and uncomfortable noise:
'Smoking makes me cough.'
(adjective Dizzy). To have the feeling that everything around you is spinning.
'I felt dizzy after standing up too quickly when I was in the bath.'

Fever / Temperature

A rise in body temperature. To feel hot.

The Flu
(also called Influenza) A very strong cold caused by a virus. Symptoms include: fever, headache, runny nose and

Hay Fever
An allergy to plants and the pollen from flowers. The symptoms are red eyes, a runny nose and sneezing.

Not being able to sleep at night.

Uncomfortable, itchy, red spots on the skin. A skin condition.
'She got a rash on her hand after touching a strange plant.'

Rundown / Under the Weather

(idioms) Both of these mean a general feeling of sickness. Rundown usually comes from living an unhealthy
lifestyle. Under the weather means to not feel your usual, healthy self.

Runny Nose
Mucus coming from the nose. The need to blow your nose a lot.

(verb to Sneeze) An uncontrollable movement of air from the nose and mouth.
'The strong smell of flowers makes me sneeze.'


Red and painful skin that comes from being in the sun too long.

Something ache / sore something / bad something

These three forms are usually used to talk about general problems. These are the common collocations:
+ ache
muscle ache

bad +
bad back
bad head
bad leg

sore +
sore throat
sore eyes
sore feet

Types of doctor
Cardiologist: A heart doctor

Dermatologist: A skin doctor

Dentist: A doctor who treats teeth

General Practitioner: (G.P.) A family doctor who you would usually go to see for common health problems

Obstetrician: A doctor for female patients before and during pregnancy (child birth)

Optometrist: An eye doctor

Orthopedic Doctor / Surgeon: A doctor who specialise in bones

Pediatrician: A doctor for children

Surgeon: A doctor who performs operations

Other important words

Here are another few words that you might find useful:

Prescription: (Noun) The piece of paper that your doctor gives you with the name of the medicine you need on it.

Patient: (Person) A sick person in hospital or visiting the doctor's.

Drug Store (US) / Chemist's (UK) / Pharmacy: The place you go to get medicine.