50+ Chinese Medical Terms for Surviving Your Doctor’s Visit
Knowing medical terms in Chinese could be just as lifesaving as being able to ask “where’s the bathroom?”
Whether you find yourself in the doctor’s office for a routine checkup or taking an unplanned trip to the hospital, these words will be essential for understanding your caregivers and describing your ailments.
In this post, you’ll learn over 50 Chinese medical terms for booking appointments, describing symptoms and much more.
- Booking Your Appointment in Chinese
- Basic Medical Terms in Chinese
- Talking About Your Symptoms in Chinese
- Advanced Chinese Medical Terms
- Why You Should Know Chinese Medical Terms
- And One More Thing...
Booking Your Appointment in Chinese
Here are a few terms you’ll need when calling in for an appointment:
|手机号码||shǒu jī hào mǎ||cellphone number|
|电话号码||diàn huà hào mǎ||telephone number, landline|
|电子邮件地址||diàn zǐ yóu jiàn dì zhǐ||email address|
|出生日期||chū shēng rì qí||date of birth|
|后天||hòu tiān||day after tomorrow|
|下周五||xià zhōu wǔ||next Friday|
|明天早上||míng tiān zǎo shang||tomorrow morning|
Knowing how to have a conversation on the phone is necessary when living in China.
While hospitals accept walk-ins, clinics and outpatient departments require appointments scheduled ahead of time via telephone.
Before making that call, you should probably brush up on things like telling time in Chinese and the days of the week.
You can also prep by watching authentic videos on the topic on a program like FluentU.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Now, here are a few examples of what you might say while making the appointment over the phone or at the receptionist’s desk:
(wǒ yào yù yuē kàn yī shēng.)
I want to make an appointment to see the doctor.
(yī shēng xià zhōu liù shàng wǔ shí diǎn yǒu shí jiān ma?)
Is the doctor available next Saturday at 10 a.m.?
(wǒ de shǒu jī hào mǎ shì yī qī qī èr líng èr líng èr líng qī qī jiǔ.)
My cellphone number is 17720202079.
(wǒ de chū shēng rì qí shì yī jiǔ jiǔ líng nián jiǔ yuè èr shí èr rì.)
My date of birth is September 22nd, 1990.
Other than your phone number, receptionists probably won’t ask for contact details until you arrive for your appointment.
Remember to bring your passport. If you’re studying abroad or working in China, it would be a good idea to bring a copy of your Registration of Temporary Residence in case you haven’t memorized your address yet.
Basic Medical Terms in Chinese
To tell someone you’re sick, say “我病了” (wǒ bìng le). Simple enough, right?
Let’s move on to hospital vocabulary.
You might have learned some of these already in a hospital-themed lesson, and they’re extremely helpful when communicating with locals for the nearest hospital or looking at street and store signs when searching for the clinic or pharmacy.
|急救室||jí jiù shì||emergency room|
|门诊部||mén zhěn bù||clinic; outpatient department|
|药剂师||yào jì shī||pharmacist|
|抗生素||kàng shēng sù||antibiotic|
|去痛药||qù tòng yào||painkiller|
|西药||xī yào||Western medicine|
|中药||zhōng yào||traditional Chinese medicine|
Talking About Your Symptoms in Chinese
You’ve finally made it to your appointment and are face-to-face with your doctor. It’s time to explain why you’re here.
Again, it’s not always enough to say, “it hurts.” In addition to knowing body parts in Chinese, you’ll also need to describe your sickness or injury.
Some terms in this list double up as nouns/adjectives and verbs.
So, to say: “I have x symptom,” say 我 (wǒ) + any of the items below.
|发烧||fā shāo||to have a fever/high temperature|
|受伤||shòu shāng||to be injured|
|感冒||gǎn mào||to have a cold|
|头痛||tóu tòng||to have a headache|
|头晕||tóu yūn||to be dizzy|
|咳嗽||ké sòu||to have a cough|
|牙疼||yá téng||to have a toothache|
|呕吐||ǒu tù||to vomit|
|喉咙痛||hóu lóng tòng||sore throat|
|发冷||fā lěng||chill (the chills)|
|便秘||biàn mì||constipation, to be constipated|
|皮疹||pí zhěn||rash, measles|
|过敏症||guò mǐn zhèng||allergy|
|胃灼热||wèi zhuó rè||heartburn|
|哮喘病||xiāo chuǎn bìng||asthma|
|打断||dǎ duàn||fracture, to break a bone|
|过敏反应||guò mǐn fǎn yìng||allergic reaction|
Here are a couple of sentence examples so you can see how to format your own sentences:
我头痛。(wǒ tóu tòng.) — I have a headache.
我发冷。(wǒ fā lěng.) — I have the chills.
There are a few irregularities worth mentioning. Some terms can’t be used interchangeably as nouns/adjectives, or seem redundant when translated literally.
To make your life easier, here are a few phrases you can memorize:
我肚子疼。 (wǒ dù zi téng.) — I have a stomach ache.
我鼻子流鼻涕。 (wǒ bí zǐ liú bí tì.) — I have a runny nose.
我鼻子堵了。 (wǒ bí zi dǔ le.) — My nose is blocked/I have a stuffy nose.
Advanced Chinese Medical Terms
After discussing your symptoms, your doctor will take your vitals and possibly order tests if needed.
Even if you don’t know how to use the terminology below in a sentence, knowing the vocab will at least help you figure out what the doctor’s saying and how to read the signs around the hospital in case you need to go to different departments.
|磁共振成像||cí gòng zhèn chéng xiàng||Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)|
|电脑断层扫描||diàn nǎo duàn céng sǎo miáo||Computerized Tomography (CT) scan|
|验血||yàn xuě||blood test|
|视力检查||shì lì jiǎn chá||vision/eye test|
|心率||xīn lǜ||heart rate|
|血压||xuě yā||blood pressure|
|内科||nèi kē||internal medicine|
|妇产科||fù chǎn kē||Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB-GYN)|
|临床外科||lín chuáng wài kē||clinical surgery|
|皮肤科||pí fū kē||dermatology|
Why You Should Know Chinese Medical Terms
I’m comfortable talking to Chinese people daily, so I’ve had to accompany my fellow foreign friends to the hospital. It helps to have someone who can communicate your issues effectively.
But that’s not to say I haven’t had my own medical misadventures.
A while back, I had this strange bump on my right eyelid. Being a contact lens wearer, I’ve had my fair share of eye problems, but this bump was entirely new to me.
From calling in for an appointment to giving my contact details and taking my eye test, I didn’t fumble when speaking to my optometrist in Chinese.
It wasn’t until we discussed my symptoms that there was a slight hiccup: I had no idea how to say “itchy.”
Overall, things went smoothly, and I learned something new from the experience: I ended up getting the right treatment and learning that the word for “itchy” in Chinese is 发痒. But things would have been so much easier if I had just told the doctors about my symptoms initially.
Don’t be like me: learn these words before going to the doctor for a smoother visit.
You can learn many different phrases to survive day-to-day life in China, but because of the infrequency of hospital and doctor visits, we often find ourselves clueless when we need a checkup.
But if you know the vocabulary and general sentence structures for common Chinese medical terms, hospital visits don’t have to be as intimidating as they seem.
And One More Thing...
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