Taking A Clinical History: Language For Common Symptom Areas

medical english Feb 26, 2020







  • Have you had a temperature?
  • I think I'm running a fever
  • The patient has a high (elevated) temperature 
  • His temperature has come down (lowered) 
  • Doctor, I am burning up
  • We are here at the hospital because my son is running a temperature

He was all right when I left him, two hours ago, with no sign of a temperature






All of these are common for patients to use and can be turned into questions.


  • Do you feel queasy?
    • I feel queasy (nausea) 
  • Do you feel sick to your stomach?
    • I 'm feeling sick to my stomach (likely to vomit)
  • Do you feel like vomiting?
    • I think I'm going to vomit
  • Do you feel dizzy?
    • I feel dizzy (vertigo)
  • Do you feel lightheaded?
    • I am feeling lightheaded (vertigo)

Phrasal Verb

keep (sth) down - to be able to eat or drink something without vomiting:

  • On the day after her operation she couldn't keep anything down.


  • I can't see properly
  • Everything is fuzzy (not clear)
  • People who develop meningitis can get a stiff neck, blurred vision, and headaches.
  • I can't see in my left/right eye
  • My eye is itchy
  • My eye is stinging/burning (irritation)
  • What's happened to your eye?

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