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How to Talk About Health in English

Talk About Health in English

In this lesson, we present sentences related to health. In life, we all have health problems. Almost every day we have a problem or other health issue that forces us to go to the doctor.


How to explaining your health problem in English


These are the four most common question you might be asked about your health:

  • What’s the matter?
  • What’s wrong?
  • How do you feel today?
  • How are you feeling?

Use: Present perfect continuous

  • I have been sneezing.
  • My head has been hurting.
  • I have been having headaches.
  • I have been feeling tired.
  • I haven't been sleeping well.

Use: Present simple

We use the present simple than the present continuous when we see a doctor:

  • My head hurts. present simple
  • My head is hurting. present continuous

Use: Pronoun + have/has + noun + health problem

  • I have a bad back.
  • I have a twisted ankle.
  • I have a sore throat.
  • I have an ear infection.
  • I have a fever.
  • I have a stiff neck.
  • She has a runny nose.
  • He has a deep cut.
  • He has a sore throat.
  • You have a chest pain.
  • They have a broken leg.

Use: Pronoun + I feel + adjective

  • I feel dizzy.
  • I feel under the weather.
  • I feel rundown.

Use: Pronoun + broke + my/ her/ his + health problem

  • I broke my leg.
  • I broke my arm.
  • She broke her right left.
  • He broke her right arm.
  • He broken his leg.

How to give recommendations about health problems


This is the way to give recommendations to others when they talk about the health problems they have:

  • You should drink plenty of water.
  • You should take some medications.
  • You should ring your GP if you have a health concern.
  • She should take antibiotics for eight days before the tooth extraction.
  • You should drink a hot soup.
  • You should go to a dentist for cleaning every 6 months.
  • He should wear a knee-pad no matter what physical activity he does.
  • You should take vitamin C.
  • You should rest.
  • You should take some rest.
  • You should  take a painkiller.
  • You should apply a Ice Pack in the back of your neck.
  • You can take an aspirin for pain.
  • You can take some time off.
  • You could try drinking more water.  
  • You could try resting more.
  • You may want to eat less.  
  • You may want to quit smoking.
  • You might want to exercise more.  
  • You might want to quit drinking
  • I would take some time off if I were you.
  • I would start doing more exercises if I were you.

Types of Doctors


These are some of the kind of doctors that you will find working in a clinic or hospital:


1. Cardiologist: A heart doctor.

  • If you have chest pains I suggest you see a cardiologist.

2. Dermatologist: A skin doctor.

  • Visit your dermatologist yearly for a full-body skin check.

3. Dentist: A doctor who treats teeth.

  • His mouth is still sore from his visit to the dentist's.

4. Obstetrician: A physician or surgeon qualified to practice in obstetrics.

  • Any pregnant woman who has been exposed to rubella should contact her obstetrician immediately.

5. Optometrist: An eye doctor.

  • I've been sleeping with my contact lenses in but the optometrist told me that I should be taking them out every night.

6. Orthopedic Doctor: Relating to the branch of medicine dealing with the correction of deformities of bones or muscles.

  • Based on these findings, the use of autologous transfusions in orthopedic procedures is expected to increase.

7. Pediatrician: A doctor for children.

  • Obvious problems such as strabismus are usually caught by the pediatrician.

8. Surgeon: A doctor who performs operations.

  • The scrub persons drape the patient, and the surgeon infiltrates the surgical site with local anesthesia.

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

  • "We booked the first visit with our local general practitioner in the seventh week of pregnancy." 

Types of illness


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

  • This initial scepticism was compounded by the suspicion that infections might actually provoke allergy.

2. Bad back: Back pain can range from a muscle aching to a shooting, burning or stabbing sensation.

  • She hasn't got a bad back or broken leg or some other easily visible form of injury.

3. Concussion: An injury to the brain caused by a blow to your head. It is usually not long-lasting. 

  • Nothing more serious than a mild concussion.

4. Cough: (verb to Cough) Pronounced 'coff'. To force air out of the lungs making a loud and uncomfortable noise.

  • Smoking makes me cough.

5. Indigestion: A pain that you get in your stomach when you find it difficult to digest food.

  • You know chips give me indigestion.

6. Dizziness: (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.

7. Fever / Temperature: A rise in body temperature. To feel hot.

  • I would take aspirin to help me with the pain and reduce the fever.

8. Flu (influenza): A highly contagious viral infection.

  • I had a bad case of the flu.
9. Hay Fever: A condition associated with many illnesses where your body temperature is higher than 38°C (100.4 F)
  • If you have seasonal hay fever, you may be allergic to pollens released by trees, grasses or weeds.

10. Insomnia: Not being able to sleep at night.

  • Why do people with sleep disorders such as insomnia often binge-eat late at night?

11. Rash: Uncomfortable, itchy, red spots on the skin. A skin condition.

  • She got a rash on her hand after touching a strange plant.

12. 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.

  • Feeling tired and generally run-down.

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

  • I am six months pregnant and I'm suffering badly from nasal congestion and a runny nose.

14. Sneeze: (verb to Sneeze) An uncontrollable movement of air from the nose and mouth.

  • The strong smell of flowers makes me sneeze.

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

  • My hands and face were raw with sunburn."

16. Headache: A continuous pain in the head.

  • I've got a splitting headache.

17. Backache: Prolonged pain in one's back.

  • Low backache and lower abdomen pain are common complaints and fever may accompany these symptoms.

18. Stomachache: A pain in a person's belly.

  • Most childhood stomachaches aren't serious.

19. Muscle ache: This type of pain is usually localized, affecting just a few muscles or a small part of your body.

  • I mean headache, sore throat, muscle ache, stomachache, fever, and all that good stuff.

20. Nausea: A feeling of sickness with an inclination to vomit.

  • A wave of nausea engulfed him.

21. Sore throat: A condition marked by pain in the throat, typically caused by inflammation due to a cold or other virus.

  • She whispers through her role as if she's got a sore throat.

22. Sore eyes: Sore eyes are an unpleasant sensation in or around one or both eyes. Your eyes may feel gritty, tender or tired. 

  • The trees were bare and leafless, but the snow made them a sight for sore eyes.

23. Sore feet: Sore feet are a very common complaint. Issues with the joints of the foot, pregnancy, sprains, plantar fasciitis, and simple overuse can all cause foot pain.

  • One in four cite backaches and 20 percent mention sore feet.

Important medical terminology in English

1. General Practitioner (GP): A family doctor who works in the community.

  • We booked the first visit with our local general practitioner in the seventh week of pregnancy.

2. Prescription: An order for medication, signed by your doctor.

  • He scribbled a prescription for tranquilizers.

3. Surgery: The building where doctors work.

  • All patients who had ambulatory surgery during data collection times were asked to take part in the study.

4. Surgeon: Operates on sick people.

  • Without any exaggerated sense of self-importance, the 86-year-old surgeon sat in his spartan office room.

5. Clinic: A session where patients can see a doctor or nurse.

  • Well, never mind, go to the clinic and they'll prescribe something to clear it up.

6. Appointment: An arrangement to see or visit someone at a particular date and time.

  • She made an appointment with my receptionist.

7. Bandage: A part of material used to support a part of the body.

  • Her leg was swathed in bandages.

8. Contagious: Can be spread from one person to another.

  • A contagious infection.

9. Medication: A set of medicines used to treat an illness.

  • Certain medications can cause dizziness.

10. Medicine: A substance, for example cough syrop, ointment, eye drops, tablets, injections, that is used to treat a particular illness (My bottle of medicine NOT My bottle of medication).

  • He made distinguished contributions to pathology and medicine.

11. Painkiller: A medicine for relieving pain.

  • She bent over Milo, sponging some of the warm painkiller from a bucket next to the bed.

12. To give up: To stop doing/having smth.

  • I also had to give up white and wheat flour because they block the digestive process.

13. To put on: to place something on top of something else.

  • Robbie said that he would still be a drug user if the substances did not cause him to put on weight.

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

  • He scribbled a prescription for tranquilizers.

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

  • Many patients in the hospital were more ill than she was.

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

  •  This service provides 24 hour clinical pharmacy coverage each day of the calendar year.

Phrases to describe your symptoms when going to the doctor


These are some phrases which can help your describe symptoms and health problems when going to the doctor:

  1. He injured his finger when he was cutting the meat.
  2. He is covered in Bruises.
  3. I can’t sleep because my head aches too bad.
  4. I feel ill.
  5. I feel very sick, I don’t think I can work today.
  6. I had such a horrible headache last night that I took two pain killers.
  7. I think I caught a cold on the ice rink yesterday.
  8. I’d like to book an appointment to see the doctor.
  9. I’m afraid I’m pregnant; I vomit after getting up every morning.
  10. I’ve got a (bad) headache.
  11. I’ve got a cough.
  12. I’ve got a fever.
  13. I’ve got a pain in my chest.
  14. I’ve got toothache.
  15. My arm hurts.
  16. My elderly aunt suffers from rheumatism, her legs are always in pain.
  17. Our daughter has been diagnosed with cancer.
  18. She can’t come to school, she’s in bed with a cold.
  19. She had such a high temperature.
  20. She says her stomach is still sore after the operation.
  21. What time does the surgery open?

Random phrases to talk about health in English

Here are the most common health care English phrases that will enrich your English vocabulary and make you sound like a native speaker:

  1. Changes to her diet are making her healthy.
  2. He appears healthy.
  3. He eats good food to maintain his health.
  4. He eats nothing but health food.
  5. He enjoys good health despite his age.
  6. He has a healthy appetite.
  7. He has always been extremely healthy.
  8. He is still in excellent health.
  9. He is trying to stay healthy.
  10. He made some suggestions for maintaining his long-term health.
  11. He tries to stay mentally healthy.
  12. Health education is important.
  13. Her health is slowly failing.
  14. He's trying to regain his health.
  15. His diet is reasonably healthy.
  16. It has been medically proven that one or two glasses of Herbs a day is good for you also.
  17. Many people are currently enquiring at their doctors when they can have the influenza injection.
  18. Older people should keep a close eye on their health if they want to have a long life.
  19. She just hopes for a healthy baby.
  20. She tries to keep a healthy diet.
  21. She was tired but otherwise healthy.
  22. Smoking will harm your health.
  23. So, we have the task of locating and transferring her to a nursing home.
  24. That is a major health hazard.
  25. The antbiotics have "done their job" in putting one back to normal.
  26. The campaign promotes good health.
  27. The company is financially healthy.
  28. The doctor said his overall health is good.
  29. The doctor said she is perfectly healthy.
  30. The health department issued a warning about the flu.
  31. There are many health benefits from exercising.
  32. There should be a healthy balance between work and free time.
  33. They are discussing environmental health.
  34. They are finding ways to improve public health.
  35. They are monitoring his health.
  36. They are opening a community health center.
  37. They ate a healthy breakfast.
  38. They have a healthy relationship.
  39. They issued a health warning because of the smoke in the air.
  40. They want to increase access to health care.
  41. This disease is a threat to public health.
  42. This is not a healthy situation.
  43. Two weeks ago my mother suffered two strokes.
  44. We are experiencing healthy growth.
  45. We are looking for healthy options.
  46. We are worried about his bad health.
  47. We hope that the antibiotics have "done their job" in putting you back to normal.
  48. We're concerned with his physical health.
  49. You were unfortunate to make contact with a person with the virus.

See: The Difference Between Few and a Few




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