Not sure what the difference is between “sick” and “injured”? This lesson will introduce you to some basic medical terms you need to know, like “wound”, “cure”, “heal”, “disease”, and more. These terms will help you describe medical conditions and emergencies that will be very useful, especially if you are travelling in an English-speaking country. This lesson is sure to infect you with the English bug!


Hi again. Welcome back to I’m Adam. Today’s lesson is a bit more practical, especially if you’re going to be going to travel in an English-speaking country, you might want to know some of these words. We’re going to look at some medical vocabulary, and to talk about the issues that you’re facing. Okay?

First of all, let’s break down the medical vocabulary to three sections. We have injuries, we have illnesses, we have diseases. Okay? First thing to understand, an injury is always about the physical body. Okay? It’s bones, it’s tissues, it’s skin, it’s all these things. Illness is inside the body, but it’s usually shorter. Okay? It doesn’t last a long time, and you can usually get rid of it; you can fix it somehow. Diseases, on the other hand, they’re also inside, but they take a long time and quite often they can kill you. Okay? Some diseases, nothing you can do about them; there’s no cure for them. But some diseases, you can treat. Okay? We’ll talk about that as well. You can treat them, but there’s no cure necessarily.

So, let’s start with injury. An injury to your physical body can come in different forms. All of these are called “wound”, “wound”, it sounds like an “oo” sound. “Wound”. Okay? A wound is when you do something to physically harm your body.

A “burn”. If you touch the stove… You’re pulling out bread from the oven, you touch it. Or the stove, you’re cooking something and you touch the hot plate, you will burn your hand. Okay? So, if you burn your hand, it’ll stink a little bit, it will hurt a lot, but you can put some lotion on it, take care of it.

A “break”. Now, if you go skiing and by accident you fall down, you can break your leg. Or if you go bicycling, like off-road, like trail biking, you fall down, you break your leg, break your arm, break something. Like: “crack”, a bone inside somewhere broke.

But you could also fall and “sprain” something. A sprain means like almost a break. Like, for example, you fall down on your ankle… You can’t see my ankle. It’s down there, but I’m like twisting it. If I fall down on it, I won’t break my bone, but it will get all swollen. Okay? It’ll puff up. It’ll be blue and black, and very, very painful. And maybe I won’t be able to walk on it, but I didn’t break anything. Okay? So, these are examples of injuries.

Next, we have illness. Now, everybody gets ill at some time. If you say “sickness”, it means the same thing. Sickness/illness, exactly the same thing. You can get a “cold”. [Coughs] And sneezing, and coughing, and whatever.

You can get a “flu” will usually be with a… Usually comes with a fever. Many of you know “influenza”, so we just say “flu” for short. Okay? This is not very fun. You sit in bed for a few days, but eventually it goes away, hopefully.

And we always… We often talk about a “bug”. Now, when we talk about a bug, we’re talking usually about a virus. So we say: “There’s a bug going around.” So during certain times of the year, you’ll get on the bus and somebody on the bus is sick or somebody coughed and then grabbed onto the handle. Then you come on the bus, you grab the handle. The bug comes inside you, and then the next day you’re ill. You have a flu. You have a cold. You have something. So we say there’s a bug going around.

Next, we have a disease. Now, a disease is a very harsh thing. Okay? There is mental diseases, there is physical diseases. Something that is “chronic” means that it continues for a long time; it doesn’t go away. Like even if I have-[coughs]-a chronic cough, it means I’m always coughing; it doesn’t go away.

Then, if you get tested and you find out that, for example, you had a tumour let’s say. You had something growing inside you, you think maybe it’s cancer, you go get it tested and then you find out it’s “benign”. It means it’s not dangerous. It’s not going to do anything to you. It won’t develop into the disease.

But then there are some diseases that are “terminal”. “Terminal” means end. So, basically, if you have a terminal disease, you’re going to die. Okay? Sad, but true. That’s how it works. Cancer is a terminal disease in most cases. In some cases, it goes away for a little while, but it can come back. But if you have a terminal disease, you’re probably going to pass away.

Now, we “heal” injuries. Okay? You go to a doctor, you go to the hospital, they do something, they fix your arm. Then eventually, after a little bit of time, your broken arm, your broken bone heals.