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Talking about Health in Spanish – Visit to the Doctor Vocabulary

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Infographics of Talk About Health

Just health is a topic any Spanish student needs to master from the very beginning.  If you are visiting a Spanish speaking country and you feel sick (tú te sientes enfermo),  if you are injured (tú estás lastimado) you need to see a doctor or visit a hospital (ir al doctor/hospital). There are many compelling reasons why health phrases are important to know in Spanish.

Also, when people greet you and say ¿Cómo estás?, you can answer No me siento well or  I don’t feel well. Now, you are involved in a health related conversation since you will say what’s wrong with you and start talking about médicos or doctors, síntomas or symptoms and possible tratamientos or treatments. 

Asking About Someone's health

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In order to ask a person how he/she feels or is today, you simply greet them by saying ¿Cómo estás? or How are you?. In this case, in Spanish language there is an informal way to address the 2nd person singular, Tú/vos; and a formal way, usted. 

Another question people use regularly is ¿Cómo te sientes? which literally means How are you feeling?. The answer in the Spanish language can be confusing since you simply say No me siento bien or I don’t feel well. The verb siento also refers to the english verb to sit. But when talking about health, the infinitive form is sentir or to feel. 

Spanish speaking people tend to ask ¿Cómo te encuentras? which can literally be translated as How do you find yourself? Encontrar means to find. However, when talking about health No me encuentro bien means I don’t feel well. 

1¿Estás bien?/ ¿Está usted bien?Are you okay?
2Regular/Más o menosSo-So
3¿Cómo te sientes?/¿Cómo se siente?How are you feeling?
4No me siento bienI don't feel well
5¿Cómo te encuentras?/¿Cómo se encuentra?How do you feel?
6No tan bienNot so well
7¿Qué te pasa?/¿Qué les pasa?What 's the matter?
8¿Qué te sucede?/ ¿Qué le sucede?What 's wrong?
9No te preocupes, estaré bienDon’t worry, I’ll be fine

  • ¿Cómo estás?/¿Cómo está usted? =How are you?

  • Estoy bien, gracias =I’m fine, thank you

Useful Phrases For Talking About Health

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Parts of the body are important to tell your doctor where is an injury. Me duele is the way to start saying something hurts you. This construction refers to something that happens to you. Me duele el brazo or My arm hurts, you simply use the part of the body that hurts you. If both arms or legs hurt you, you simply use Me duelen los brazos/las piernas or My legs/arms hurt. The verb duele matches the 3rd person singular, duelen matches the 3rd person plural. 

1El oídoThe ear
2La narizThe nose
3La bocaThe mouth
4La gargantaThe throat
5El estómagoThe stomach
6Los dientesThe teeth
7El cuelloThe neck
8La espaldaThe back
9Los brazos The arms
10Las manosThe hands
11Los dedosThe fingers/ the toes
12Los codosThe elbows
13Los hombrosThe shoulders
14Las piernasThe legs
15Los piesThe foot
16Las rodillasThe knees

  • Me gustaría programar una cita para ver al médico. =I’d like to book an appointment to see the doctor.

  • ¿A qué hora abre la cirugía? =What time does the surgery open?

  • Me siento enfermo =I feel ill.

  • Tengo un (fuerte) dolor de cabeza. =I’ve got a (bad) headache.

  • Me duele el pecho. =I’ve got a pain in my chest.

  • Tengo fiebre. =I’ve got a fever.

  • Tengo tos. =I’ve got a cough.

  • Tengo dolor de muelas. =I’ve got toothache.

  • Me duele el brazo. =My arm hurts.

Visit To The Doctor Vocabulary

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In the Spanish language, you simply use Tengo + un dolor or pain to talk about illnesses. This is an easy formula to learn when you want to say what’s wrong with you. 

1Tengo gripeI have a flu
2Tengo un resfríoI have a cold
3Tengo artritisI have arthritis
4Estoy insolado/insoladaI caught a sunstroke 
5Tengo una picadura de abeja/avispaI have a bee sting/wasp sting
6Tengo una fracturaI have a fracture
7Tengo una heridaI have an injury
8Tengo una quemaduraI have a burn

  • Tengo diabetes =I have diabetes

  • Tengo alergias =I have allergies

  • Tengo una fractura =I have a fracture

  • Tengo una herida =I have an injury

  • Tengo una quemadura =I have a burn

  • Tengo Gripe =I have a flu

  • tengo un resfrío =I have a cold

Health Related Verbs in Spanish

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In the case of estornudar and toser or sneeze and cough you simply say Estornudo mucho or I sneeze a lot; Toso mucho or I cough a lot. The verbs sangrar, picar and doler are used similarly. You simply say Me duele la garganta or My throat hurts, Me sangra la nariz or My nose bleeds. Me pica la mano or My hands itches. 

The verb to be in the Spanish language has two meanings: ser, estar. This can be confusing at first. You simply say Estoy estresado or I’m stressed. The verb estar is also used to say where a person is such as Estoy en el hospital or I’m in hospital

1DolerTo hurt
2PicarTo itch
3SangrarTo bleed
4TenerTo have
5ToserTo cough
6EstornudarTo sneeze 
7EstarTo be

  • Encontrar/Encontrarse =To feel

  • Sentir =To feel

Health Related Symptoms in Spanish

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You simply say Tengo + un dolor or I have + a pain to talk about symptoms. Another alternative is to use Me duele + una parte del cuerpo or It hurts + part of the body. In the english language it's the other way round. 

When referring to part of the body you can use both expressions: Me duele el pie o Tengo dolor de pie which means My foot hurts or I have a pain in my foot. 

1Me duele la espaldaI have backache
2Me duele la muelaI have toothache
3Me duele la cabezaI have a headache
4Me duele la rodillaMy knee hurts
5Me duele el estomagoI have a stomachache
6Tengo la garganta inflamadaI have a sore throat 
7Tengo el pie hinchadoI have a swollen foot
8Tengo migrañasI have migraine
9Tengo la presión baja/altaI have high/low blood pressure
10Me siento mareadoI feel dizzy
11Me siento deprimidoI feel depressed

  • Tengo fiebre =I have fever

  • Tengo la nariz tapada =I have a stuffy nose

  • Tengo dificultad para respirar =I have shortness of breath

  • Tengo tos =I have a cough

Know about What Medical Treatments is Being Given

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When tú estás en el hospital or you are in hospital, you simply go home with una receta or prescription  in order to start un tratamiento or a treatment. 

1El médico me prescribió un medicamento para el dolor de espaldaThe doctor prescribed me  backache medicine 
2El médico me prescribió anagelsicosThe doctor prescribed me painkillers 
3Me aplico crema sobre la quemadura dos veces al díaI apply cream on my burn twice a day
4Tomo pastillas para el dolor de cabezaI take some pills for the headache
5Uso gotas en los ojos una vez al díaI use eye drops

  • Me pusieron una inyección  =They gave me an injection

  • Tengo una cirugía de rodilla mañana =I have a knee surgery tomorrow

Know about Health Professionals, Hospitals, Ambulance etc

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Depending on your symptoms you need to see a particular doctor. In the Spanish language there’s a distinction between female and male articles and nouns. If your doctor is a female you simply say La doctora. If the doctor is a male, you use El doctor.  This happens when referring to any health professional. 

1La sala de emergenciaThe emergency room
2El quirófanoThe operation room
3La farmaciaThe pharmacy
4El doctor/médico, la doctora/la medicaThe doctor
5El/la dentistaThe dentist
6El cirujano/La cirujanaThe surgeon
7El/La nutricionistaThe nutritionist 
8El cardiologo/La cardiologaThe cardiologist
9EL paramédico/La paramédicaThe paramedic
10El oculista/La oculistaThe eye doctor

  • El hospital =The hospital

  • La ambulancia =The ambulance

Health Related General Phrases and Expressions

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Once you have learnt basic vocabulary about health, you are ready to hold a conversation to talk about the symptoms you have or what happened to you. 

1Necesito ayudaI need help
2¡Llame una ambulancia, por favor!Call an ambulance, please!
3Tome 48 horas de reposoTake a 48 hours rest 
4Tome mucho líquidoDrink lot of water
5¿Tiene seguro médico?Do you have medical insurance?
6Tome el antibiótico cada 6 horasTake the antibiotics every 6 hours
7Necesito sacar un turno con un médicoI need to make an appointment with a doctor

  • Estoy enfermo/enferma =I’m sick

  • Tuve un accidente =I had an accident


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Getting sick when in a Spanish speaking country can be an awful experience if you don’t know how to get the message across. Learning health related vocabulary at early stages can help you when you don’t feel well. 
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