by Liz Walter
If you are ill, it is important to be able to describe what is wrong with you. This two-part post looks at some vocabulary to use at the doctor’s. This first one offers some basic, general words for describing medical problems.
Firstly, a note about a UK/US difference: the word ill is used more frequently in British English, while sick is more common in US English. If a British person says they were sick, they usually mean that they vomited.
I feel tired all the time.
I have a headache.
I’m having trouble sleeping.
I’m having trouble with my knees.
It can sometimes be necessary to describe pain to a doctor. The most common ways to do this are:
My leg/finger, etc. hurts.
I have a pain in my foot/ear, etc.
A part of the body that hurts when you touch it is sore or tender, while if you can’t feel it at all, it is numb. If part of your body is bigger than normal, it is swollen. Small, red marks on the skin are called a rash, and if you feel you want to scratch them, they are itchy.
If blood is coming from part of your body, you say that it is bleeding. If you fell over because you were dizzy, you fainted and if you remained in a condition where you could not see or think, you were unconscious.
It’s not as bad when I lie down.
Standing for long periods makes it worse.
Painkillers help it a bit.
Look out for my next post which presents some slightly more advanced vocabulary to talk about specific types of illness.