117 French Medical Terms for Travellers Translated into English

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Sick Dog Injection

Hopefully, you will never need to know French medical terms during your holiday in France. But it can be reassuring to know the main French medical vocabulary, just in case. If you feel unwell during your stay in a lovely French city or area, you should be able to explain your symptoms. So that the doctor makes the right diagnosis and prescribes the right medication to relieve your pain.

Like most of us, viruses and bacteria like to travel! And « la fièvre », « la tension basse or élevée » or « la tête qui tourne » are usually signs that something is wrong. And health care professionals will need your help to identify the cause. It is therefore important to know the most common sicknesses and aches to deal with basic health or medical issue. This article will not transform you into a French doctor but it will allow you to communicate with them!

Mastering French medical terminology could also be very useful to save lives. As a matter of fact, would you know what to do in the event of a 'urgence vitale' i.e. life-threatening emergency? In France, people dial 18 to call the 'pompiers' i.e. the firefighters who are national heroes. They also dial 15 or 112 to call the 'SAMU' (Service d'Aide Médicale d'Urgence) which is the equivalent of the First Aid Squad (US) or Emergency First Aid (UK).

We've compiled a list of the most useful French medical terms to help you talk like a real French patient. They will allow you to explain your symptoms and get the right treatment. Make sure to keep these French medical terms in your pocket by downloading French Translator & Dictionary + for free on your iPhone & iPad or your Android device. 📲

17 Emergency phrases in French

Help! - Au secours ! / À l'aide ! / Aidez-moi !

Call for help! - Appelez les secours !

Call a doctor! - Appelez un médecin/docteur !

Call an ambulance! - Appelez une ambulance !

Call the firemen! - Appelez les pompiers !

Call the police! - Appelez la police !

I need a doctor. - J'ai besoin d'un médecin.

It hurts. - J'ai mal.

I need medical care. - J'ai besoin de soins médicaux.

I need something for pain. - J'ai besoin d'un antidouleur.

I broke my arm/leg. - Je me suis cassé le bras/la jambe.

I sprained my ankle/wrist. - Je me suis foulé la cheville/le poignet.

I dislocated my shoulder/hip/knee. - Je me suis déboîté/luxé l'épaule/la hanche/le genou.

I cracked my rib. - Je me suis fêlé une côte.

I know first aid. - Je connais les gestes des premiers secours.

There has been an accident. - Il y a eu un accident.

Please inform my family. - Contactez ma famille s'il vous plaît.

23 Medical symptoms in French

I feel unwell. - Je ne me sens pas bien.

I have a fever. - J'ai de la fièvre.

I have a headache. - J'ai mal à la tête. / J'ai des maux de tête.

I keep shivering. - J'ai des frissons.

I cough. - Je tousse.

I feel very tired. - Je me sens très fatigué(e).

I can hardly breath. - J'ai du mal à respirer.

I feel sick. - J'ai mal au cœur.

I am dizzy. - J'ai la tête qui tourne.

I fainted. - J'ai fait un malaise.

My throat aches. - J'ai mal à la gorge.

My stomach aches. - J'ai mal au ventre.

I have stomach pain. - J'ai mal à l'estomac.

I have a bad back. - J'ai mal au dos.

My nose is stuffy. - J'ai le nez bouché.

My nose is bleeding. - Je saigne du nez.

I am bloated. - Je suis ballonné(e).

I feel nauseous. - J'ai la nausée.

I have diarrhea. - J'ai la diarrhée.

I am constipated. - Je suis constipé(e).

I have spots. - J'ai des boutons.

I have aches and pains. - J'ai des courbatures.

I have pins and needles in my legs. - J'ai des fourmis dans les jambes.

41 Diseases in French

allergy - allergie
(Ex: allergy to penicillin - allergie à la pénicilline)

appendicitis - appendicite

asthma - asthme

blister - ampoule

blood pressure - tension
(Ex: high blood pressure - tension élevée / low blood pressure - tension basse)

bronchitis - bronchite

cancer - cancer

canker sore - aphte

chickenpox - varicelle

cholesterol - cholestérol

cough - toux
(Ex: dry cough - toux sèche or loose cough - toux grasse)

diabetes - diabète

cystitis - cystite

cold - rhume

cold sore - bouton de fièvre

concussion - commotion cérébrale

eczema - eczéma

flu - grippe
(Ex: avian flu - grippe aviaire)

fracture - fracture

gastritis - gastrite

gastroenteritis - gastro-entérite

hay fever - rhume des foins

head injury - traumatisme crânien

heart attack - crise cardiaque

haemorrhoids / hemorrhoids - hémorroïdes

hypertension - hypertension

hypotension - hypotension

measles - rougeole

migraine - migraine

multiple sclerosis - sclérose en plaques

nettle rash - urticaire

pandemic - pandémie

pneumonia - pneumonie

rhinitis - rhinite
(Ex: allergic rhinitis - rhinite allergique)

skin rash - éruption cutanée

sore throat - angine

severe sore throat - angine blanche

sprain - entorse

stroke - AVC (Accident Vasculaire Cérébral)

urinary tract infection - infection urinaire

varicose veins - varices

16 Treatments or medication in French

antibiotic - antibiotique

bandage - bandage

compress - compresse

crutch - béquille

desinfectant - désinfectant

dressing - pansement

drinkable suspension - suspension buvable

first aid - premiers secours

injection - piqûre

ointment - pommade

painkiller - antidouleur

pill / tablet - pilule, cachet, comprimé

plaster cast - plâtre

suppository - suppositoire

syrup - sirop

vial - ampoule

20 Medical verbs in French

to bleed - saigner

to blow one's nose - se moucher

to break - - se casser

to bruise - contusionner

to choke - s'étouffer

to cough - tousser

to crack - se fêler

to die - mourir

to dislocate - se déboîter, se luxer

to faint - s'évanouir

to give birth - accoucher

to heal - guérir

to put in plaster - plâtrer

to scar - cicatriser

to sneeze - éternuer

to suture - suturer

to suffocate - suffoquer

to swell - enfler, gonfler

to throw up - vomir

to treat - soigner

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Porte-toi bien ! (Take care!)

share French medical terms

Christine Ducos-Restagno
Lead French linguist

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