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You are here: Home Education Languages Practical French: I need a doctor!
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12/02/2009Practical French: I need a doctor!

Practical French: I need a doctor! Even fluent French speakers sometimes have to ask: Comment dit-on? We offer some practical vocabulary for every-day life.

You can find a family doctor by looking up médecins in the a-z listings. But just making the appointment won't make you feel better; first you have to tell him or her where it hurts.

GP: un généraliste
family doctor: un médecin de famille
primary physician: un médecin traitant (a specific relationship in the French Social Security system; these doctors are responsible for all basic treatment and supply referrals to most specialists in order to receive reimbursement payments. See 'A guide to French healthcare' for an explanation of these terms.)

waiting room: la salle d'attente
examination room: salle de consultation
diagnosis: un diagnostic
prescription: un ordonnance
to refill a prescription: renouveler un ordonnance
X-ray: une radio
ultrasound/sonogram: une échographie
examination of heart, lungs, ears: l'auscultation du cœur, des poumons, des oreilles
to take your blood pressure: prendre votre tension
Pap smear: un frottis

Social Security medical card: la carte vitale (An adult patient must always carry the carte vitale for any medical visit as it proves he/she is covered by Social Security; future versions of the card will also carry a limited medical history.)

Before going to the doctor, it's advisable to find out his/her status. Avant de se rendre chez le médecin il est bon de se renseigner sur le statut de celui-ci.

Is he/she a fund doctor or not? Est-il conventionné ou non?

Does he/she charge more than the basic fee? Pratique-t-il des dépassements d'honoraires? (Some doctors, médecins conventionnés à honoraires libres, are covered by Social Security but authorised to charge more than the state-set consultation fee; a médecin non-conventionné has signed no agreement with Social Security and the reimbursement will be made at a fixed and minimal rate.)

Marie-Alice LAULO-SMITH is French from Martinique. She has a PhD in English and a teacher-trainer certificate. She has lived in Ireland and taught English and French for many years. She and her husband are the directors of Laulo-Smith Language Services

 


medically authorised work stop: un arrêt de travail (usually required by an employer to approve sick time)

Before going to the doctor's it's advisable to find out what his/her status is.
Avant de se rendre chez le médecin il est bon de se renseigner sur le statut de celui-ci.

Does he/she charge more than the basic fee?
Pratique-t-il des dépassements d'honoraires?

MEDICAL TREATMENT FOR CHILDREN

medical record book: carnet de santé (This book is the proof that compulsory vaccinations, les vaccinations obligatoires, are up to date for school enrolment or any group childcare setting. It also records the child's growth and illnesses. If you're recently arrived, these are available for free from your local CPAM.)

medical authorisation: (usually required for a child to practice an extracurricular sport: un certificat médical pour pratiquer un sport

vaccine booster: un rappel de vaccin
chicken pox: la varicelle
measles: la rugeole
German measles: la rubéole
mumps: oreillons
head lice: des poux
 
He/She mustn't scratch or the spots will get infected. I'll prescribe an antihistamine to soothe the itching. Il ne faudra pas qu'il/elle se gratte pour ne pas infecter les boutons. Je vais vous prescrire un antihistaminique pour calmer les démangeaisons. 

COMMON SYMPTOMS/ILLNESSES

I keep coughing, sneezing, I have a headache, my nose is running, I keep having to blow my nose, I have aching muscles. Je tousse, j'éternue, j'ai mal à la tête, j'ai le nez qui coule, je n'arrête pas de me moucher, j'ai des courbatures.

I have a sore throat/earache. J'ai mal à la gorge/à l'oreille.

My nose is blocked and I'm having difficulty breathing. J'ai le nez bouché et j'ai du mal à respirer.

Send us your suggestions for future practical vocabulary lessons or your French language questions.

 

I can't shake this cold.  J'ai un rhume qui traîne en longueur.

I have chills. J'ai des frissons.

My voice is hoarse. J'ai la voix enrouée.

My eyes water. Les yeux pleurent.

I feel dizzy/have difficulty standing. J'ai des vertiges, je ne tiens pas bien sur les jambes.

I've got a stomachache and diarrhoea. I have to keep going to the toilet. J'ai mal au ventre et j'ai la diarrhée; je n'arrête pas d'aller aux toilettes.

rash: des démangeaisons
pimples/spots: des boutons
swelling: des oedèmes
blotches: des plaques
coughing fits: des quintes de toux
a stabbing pain: une douleur vive

earache/ear abcess: une otite 
post-nasal drip: une rhinopharyngite
bronchitis: une bronchite
asthma: l'asthme (m)
flu: une grippe
stomach flu: une gastro

hay fever: le rhume des foins
allergies: des allergies
diabetes: le diabète
migraine headaches: des migraines
bladder infection: une infection urinaire, une cystite
high-blood pressure: la hypertension artérielle
slight inflammation: une légère inflammation

QUESTIONS THE DOCTOR MAY ASK

You probably have a fever. Have you taken your temperature? Vous avez sans doute de la fièvre. Vous avez pris votre température ?

You've got a temperature of 39° (102.2 Fahrenheit). Vous avez 39 de fièvre.

Is it a dry or a productive cough? Votre toux est sèche ou grasse ?

Does it hurt when you swallow? Ca vous fait mal quand vous avalez ?

Your throat is irritated, does it tickle? Votre gorge est irritée, est-ce que cela vous picote ?

SPECIALISTS

Most of the names of medical specialisations correspond roughly to those in English. 

gynaecologist: gynécologue

midwife: sage-femme

ophthalmologist: opthalmologiste

cardiologist: cardiologue

physiotherapist: kinésithérapeute

physical therapy: des séances de kiné



Marie-Alice LAULO-SMITH is French from Martinique. She has a PhD in English and a teacher-trainer certificate. She has lived in Ireland and taught English and French for many years.She and her husband are the directors of Laulo-Smith Language Services

 




3 reactions to this article

Keith Eckstein posted: 2008-08-14 11:46:51

On my site - I let my visitors download a 1 page PDF file of important numbers/phrases (to be placed by the phone) - http://www.bretondiary.com/downloads/numbers.pdf

Perhaps Expatica could do something similar - just a thought.

All the best

Keith

Mag posted: 2010-01-04 20:37:25

As an ex-Merchant Navy Captain, I 've been living most of my life abroad and feel very "expat-like" since I settle down back to Belgium and I think that this practical French language assistance "I need a Doctor", is undoubtedly valuable for any "Expat" which has to go to the Doctor, notwithstanding it is fashionable to avoid making spelling mistakes, that I will willingly put on account of inadvertence : in French the gender of the word "ordonnance" is female and therefore we write "une ordonnance" and not "un ordonnance"
Avec mes meilleures salutations,
your Fan "Mag"

Arts Gedeos posted: 2011-06-29 19:10:21

It's a pity to see that 14 months later the spelling mistake is still actual!!!
As an ex-Merchant Navy Captain, I 've been living most of my life abroad and feel very "expat-like" since I settle down back to Belgium and I think that this practical French language assistance "I need a Doctor", is undoubtedly valuable for any "Expat" which has to go to the Doctor, notwithstanding it is fashionable to avoid making spelling mistakes, that I will willingly put on account of inadvertence : in French the gender of the word "ordonnance" is female and therefore we write "une ordonnance" and not "un ordonnance"
Avec mes meilleures salutations,
your Fan "Mag"

3 reactions to this article

Keith Eckstein posted: 2008-08-14 11:46:51

On my site - I let my visitors download a 1 page PDF file of important numbers/phrases (to be placed by the phone) - http://www.bretondiary.com/downloads/numbers.pdf

Perhaps Expatica could do something similar - just a thought.

All the best

Keith

Mag posted: 2010-01-04 20:37:25

As an ex-Merchant Navy Captain, I 've been living most of my life abroad and feel very "expat-like" since I settle down back to Belgium and I think that this practical French language assistance "I need a Doctor", is undoubtedly valuable for any "Expat" which has to go to the Doctor, notwithstanding it is fashionable to avoid making spelling mistakes, that I will willingly put on account of inadvertence : in French the gender of the word "ordonnance" is female and therefore we write "une ordonnance" and not "un ordonnance"
Avec mes meilleures salutations,
your Fan "Mag"

Arts Gedeos posted: 2011-06-29 19:10:21

It's a pity to see that 14 months later the spelling mistake is still actual!!!
As an ex-Merchant Navy Captain, I 've been living most of my life abroad and feel very "expat-like" since I settle down back to Belgium and I think that this practical French language assistance "I need a Doctor", is undoubtedly valuable for any "Expat" which has to go to the Doctor, notwithstanding it is fashionable to avoid making spelling mistakes, that I will willingly put on account of inadvertence : in French the gender of the word "ordonnance" is female and therefore we write "une ordonnance" and not "un ordonnance"
Avec mes meilleures salutations,
your Fan "Mag"

 
 
 
 
 
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