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Essential Chinese for Visiting the Doctor


When you’re traveling in China, or even better, living in China, one of the most daunting things is seeing a doctor - 看医生 (kàn yī shēng)

The system of seeing a doctor is much different from the West - you often are seen in a huge hospital, and bounce around from station to station. Plus you often need to use Chinese to read or fill out forms, communicate with the staff, and explain your symptoms! That can be a bit scary and stressful!

While there are English-speaking clinics out there, they can be really pricey, and more difficult to get to than your nearest Chinese clinic, so it’s good to know some language basics going into a Chinese clinic or hospital.

Don’t worry, we’ve got this handy infographic for you to express your general aches and pains - download it and save it to your device!

Be sure to also check out this blog post where we give you the Chinese names of your body parts in Chinese. 


Below are some SUPER useful sentences if you’re trying to explain your symptoms or what happened to you. 

No need to memorize all of these - try to remember a few of the “general” ones at the top, and bookmark this guide for reference to more specific symptoms as needed! 

  • 我很不舒服 (wǒ hěn bù shū fu) - I don’t feel well.
  • 我生病了 (wǒ shēng bìng le) - I’m sick (non-specific).
  • 我病得很严重 (wǒ bìng de hěn yán zhòng) - I’m really sick (severely).
  • 我感冒了 (wǒ gǎn mào le) - I have a cold.
  • 这里很痛 (zhè lǐ hěn tòng) - This place (on the body) hurts.
  • 这里很疼 (zhè lǐ hěn téng) - This place (on the body) hurts. (alternative word for “to hurt”)
  • 我不清楚用中文怎么解释症状 (wǒ bù qīng chu yòng zhōng wén zěn me jiě shì zhèng zhuàng) - I’m not too sure how to explain my symptoms in Chinese.
  • 这里有会讲英文的医生吗? (zhè lǐ yǒu huì jiǎng yīng wén de yī sheng ma) - Are there any doctors here that can speak English?

Talking about what hurts:
  • 我 ___ 疼 (wǒ  ___  téng) -  My ___ hurts.
  • 我肚子疼 (wǒ dù zi téng) - My stomach hurts.
  • 我头疼 (wǒ tóu téng) - My head hurts. / I have a headache.
  • 我嗓子疼 (wǒ sǎng zi téng) - My throat hurts. / My throat is sore.
  • 我腰疼 (wǒ yāo téng) - My back hurts.
  • 我胸疼 (wǒ xiōng téng) - I have chest pain.

Talking about what hurts, when you do something:
  • 我____ 的时候,___ 很痛 (wǒ  __  de shí hou __  hěn tòng) - When I _____, my _____ hurts.
  • 我吃饭的时候,牙齿很痛 (wǒ chī fàn de shí hou yá chǐ hěn tòng) - When I eat, my tooth (teeth) hurt(s).
  • 我跑步的时候,膝盖很痛 (wǒ pǎo bù de shí hou xī gài hěn tòng) - When I run, my knee(s) hurt(s).

Talking about both (two) of something hurting:
  • 我两个____ 都很痛 (wǒ liǎng ge ___  dōu hěn tòng) - Both (two) of my ____ hurt.
  • 我两个耳朵都很痛 (wǒ liǎng ge ěr duo dōu hěn tòng) - Both of my ears hurt.
  • 我两个膝盖都很痛 (wǒ liǎng ge xī gài dōu hěn tòng) - Both of my knees hurt.
  • 我三颗牙齿都非常痛 (wǒ sān kē yá chǐ dōu fēi cháng tòng) - Three of my teeth really hurt.

Talking about recent changes:
  • 我最近___ (wǒ zuì jìn ___) - I’ve recently ___.
  • 我最近体重突然减轻了很多,但是不知道为什么。(wǒ zuì jìn tǐ zhòng tū rán jiǎn qīng le hěn duō dàn shì bù zhī dào wèi shén me) - I’ve recently lost weight, but I don’t know why.
  • 我最近每天都拉肚子 (wǒ zuì jìn měi tiān dōu lā dù zi) - Recently I’ve had diarrhea every single day.
  • 我最近一直感觉恶心,想吐 (wǒ zuì jìn yì zhí gǎn jué ě xin xiǎng tù) - Lately I’m always feeling nauseous, like I want to throw up.

Useful sentences for symptoms:
  • 我一直咳嗽 (wǒ yì zhí ké sou) - I keep coughing.
  • 我流鼻涕 (wǒ liú bí tì) - My nose is running.
  • 我的皮肤很红 (wǒ de pí fū hěn hóng) - My skin is red.
  • 我的皮肤很痒 (wǒ de pí fū hěn yǎng) - My skin is itchy.
  • 我的眼睛很痒 (wǒ de yǎn jing hěn yǎng) - My eye(s) are itchy.
  • 我发烧了 (wǒ fā shāo le) - I have a fever.
  • 我最近很爱出汗 (wǒ zuì jìn hěn ài chū hàn) - I have the sweats.
  • 我发冷 (wǒ fā lěng) - I have the chills.
  • 我头晕 (wǒ tóu yūn) - I’m dizzy.
  • 我拉肚子 (wǒ lā dù zi) - I have the runs.
  • 我便秘 (wǒ biàn mì) - I’m constipated.
  • 我感觉恶心 (wǒ gǎn jué ě xīn) - I feel nauseous. 
  • 我吐了 (wǒ tǔ le) - I threw up.
  • 我吐血了 (wǒ tù xiě le) - I threw up blood.
  • 我流鼻血了 (wǒ liú bí xiě le) - My nose is bleeding. / I have a nosebleed.
  • 我走不了 (wǒ zǒu bù liǎo) - I can’t walk.
  • 我觉得我有腿可能骨折了 (wǒ jué dé wǒ yǒu tuǐ kě néng gǔ zhé le) - I feel like I broke/fractured my leg.
  • 我可能发生了过敏反应 (wǒ kě néng fā shēng le guò mǐn fǎn yìng) - I might be having an allergic reaction.
  • 我好像是食物中毒了。 (wǒ hǎo xiàng shì shí wù zhòng dú le) - It seems I have food poisoning.
  • 我的伤口出脓水了 (wǒ de shāng kǒu chū nóng shuǐ le) - There’s pus coming out of my wound/cut.

Useful sentences for actions:
  • 我摔倒了 (wǒ shuāi dǎo le) - I fell down.
  • 我出车祸了 (wǒ chū chē huò le) - I was in a car accident. 
  • 我撞到头了 (wǒ zhuàng dào tóu le) - I hit my head.
  • 我不小心割伤了手 (wǒ bù xiǎo xīn gē shāng le shǒu) - I accidentally cut my hand.

Special cases:
  • 我对____过敏 (wǒ duì ___ guò mǐn) - I’m allergic to ____.
  • 我晕针 (wǒ yūn zhēn) - I’m afraid of needles. / I faint with needles.
  • 我怀孕了 (wǒ huái yùn le) - I’m pregnant.
  • 我最近刚生完孩子,还在喂奶 (wǒ zuì jìn gāng shēng wán hái zi hái zài wèi nǎi) - I’ve recently given birth, and am still breastfeeding.

Talking about the left:
  • 左 (zuǒ) + noun - left noun
  • 左手 (zuǒ shǒu) - left hand
  • 左腿 (zuǒ tuǐ) - left leg
  • 左眼 (zuǒ yǎn) - left eye

Talking about the right:
  • 右 (yòu) + noun - right noun
  • 右手 (yòu shǒu) - right hand
  • 右腿 (yòu tuǐ) - right leg
  • 右眼 (yòu yǎn) - right eye

Whether you’re studying abroad, traveling with your family, working, or in China for other purposes, we hope this guide is helpful to you during your stay!

Learn More

With the above sentences and vocab, you should be able to express most issues you’re having, but it’s also important to be able to converse at least in a basic way in Chinese as well!

If you’re looking to build up your foundation in Chinese and achieve basic conversational fluency, our Beginner Conversational Course will get you there in just six months’ time! 

The first 20 lessons of the course are completely FREE, and come with flashcards, quizzes, and other review tools so you can keep the material you learn fresh. Start here with Lesson 1:

Looking for more advanced material? Check out our Intermediate course here, and Upper Intermediate course here!

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Ashley Labrie helps with all things academic at Yoyo Chinese. She has been learning Chinese for many years and has lived in China, where she first fell in love with the language and culture.

Thu, 12 Mar 2020 07:00:00 GMT

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