Life in Germany. Illness in Germany. When taking a trip to the pharmacy, the pharmacist may ask you some questions about your symptoms. Here are the most important words and phrases that you need to know when visiting a doctor or pharmacy.
Die Grippe: If you have a serious illness, it’s probably die Grippe – the flu. Flu symptoms typically include Fieber (fever), Schüttelfrost (chills), Gliederschmerzen (muscle aches), Schmerzen (pain) and Appetitlosigkeit (loss of appetite). While both Erkältungen and Grippe are very ansteckend (contagious), flu is usually more debilitating and may require a visit to the doctor.
Eine Erkältung: This is the German term to describe the common cold. You can tell people “I have a cold” by saying ich habe eine Erkältung or ich bin erkältet. A cold is usually associated with a runny nose, so be sure to have a large supply of Taschentücher (sanitary tissues) at home.
Corona: It is most often referred to as Corona in German. Depending on the condition of the sick person, the rules for self-isolation and quarantine (Quarantänepflicht) changes. Persons who test positive for coronavirus will have to self-isolate for a minimum of five to a maximum of 10 days.
Typical inflammations are Nebenhöhlenentzündung (sinusitis), Bronchitis (bronchitis) and Mandelentzündung (tonsillitis).
Symptoms of illness
You can buy a regular nasal spray (Nasenspray) from a pharmacy if you have a stuffy nose. Since only pharmacies are allowed to sell medicines in Germany, you must go to a pharmacy to buy your medicine. The pharmacist will usually need you to describe your symptoms by asking: Welche Symptome haben Sie?
If you have a cold, you may have Halsschmerzen or Halsweh (sore throat), Kopfschmerzen (headache) or Husten (cough). You can take Halstabletten or Halsbon (throat lozenges) for a sore throat. If you buy a cough medicine, you will probably be asked if you have a dry cough-Reizhusten or if it is a product Husten (wet cough). When you have only one of these symptoms, you may need Hustensaft or Hustensirup (cough medicine). If you have a headache, you can also buy a pack of Ibuprofen.
The pharmacist may ask some questions when choosing a Medikamente (medicine)
These are the commonly asked questions:
- Haben Sie irgendwelche Unverträglichkeiten? Do you have any intolerances?
- Sind Sie mit diesen Medikamenten vertraut? Do you know this drug?
They will also explain to you the side effects (Nebenwirkungen) the medicine might cause. However, with the pandemic still with us, many German doctor’s offices (Arztpraxen) still ask patients not to come or to come at special times if they have cold or flu symptoms.
If you need sick leave (eine AU-Bescheinigung) and you suffer from mild respiratory illnesses, you can get them over the phone. However, if you have serious ailments, you should see your doctor to get a prescription. More serious cold and flu illnesses (Krankheiten) often involve Entzündungen (inflammation), which is often painful and causes Rötung (redness).