Explanations » B1+ Vocabulary Explanations » Health problems and injuries – B1+ English Vocabulary

Health problems and injuries

In this English vocabulary lesson, you will learn about various health problems and injuries. It covers essential terms and phrases to help you communicate effectively in healthcare situations. Explore the language of symptoms, treatments, and medical emergencies to enhance your ability to discuss health-related topics with confidence. Check the pictures below and read the definitions and descriptions.

Common health problems and injuries

Upper-intermediate English vocabulary about the health problems and injuries

A 1 cold is a common illness that is passed from one person to another. When you catch a cold, you have a runny nose and a sore throat, and you often cough and sneeze a lot.

  • Sarah caught a cold and has been sneezing all day.

The 2 flu is a contagious virus that can cause high temperatures, cold-like symptoms, headaches, and body aches. When you have the flu, you have a fever and feel pretty awful, so you probably need to stay in bed.

  • Tim had the flu last week and was in bed for days.

An allergy is a reaction to something you have eaten or been exposed to. When you have an allergy, you may sneeze excessively or get a 3 rash, which is a reaction on your skin.

  • Emily got a rash after using a new laundry detergent.

We use the suffix -ache to mean ‘pain’. For example, a 4 headache is a pain in the head.

  • John had a headache, and he couldn’t concentrate on his work.

When you experience stomach pain, it is called a stomachache. This can be caused by a 5 stomach bug, which is a virus that you caught from another person, or 6 food poisoning if you’ve eaten something bad. Stomach aches, stomach bugs, and food poisoning may be accompanied by 7 nausea (wanting to vomit) or 8 diarrhea.

  • Ben caught a stomach bug on vacation and spent the day in the hotel room.
  • Lisa got food poisoning from eating undercooked chicken at a restaurant.
  • The roller coaster ride made Mark feel intense nausea.
  • After drinking contaminated water, Jane suffered from severe diarrhea.

A 9 sore throat can be a symptom of a cold, the flu, or an infection, and when you have a sore throat, you may lose your voice and find it painful to swallow.

  • Kevin woke up with a sore throat and could barely speak.

A 10 cough is your body’s way of reacting to something that is caught in your throat, causing you to make frequent noises to try and clear it. A cough is often a symptom of a cold or the flu.

  • Amanda has had a persistent cough for the past few days.

A 11 sprained ankle is usually the result of an accident or fall. It can make your ankle painful to touch or walk on and can cause it to swell (=become larger).

  • While playing soccer, Mike sprained his ankle and had to be carried off the field.

12 Backache is pain in your back. It can be caused by many different things, such as lifting something heavy, an injury, or sleeping in an uncomfortable position.

  • Sitting for long hours at his desk gave Robert a backache.

13 wound is damage to part of your body, especially a cut or a hole in your flesh, which is caused by a gun, knife, or other weapon. This causes bleeding and usually takes a while to heal.

  • The knife left a deep wound on his arm, requiring stitches.

A 14 bruise is a discoloured area of skin on your body caused by an injury or accident. Bruises are usually purple or blue but change colour as they heal.

  • Nancy bumped into the coffee table and got a bruise on her leg.

15 Blisters are small bubbles on your skin that are full of liquid. They are usually caused by uncomfortable shoes or something rubbing against your skin.

  • Wearing new shoes on a long hike gave Olivia a painful blister.

16 Sunburn is your skin’s reaction to over-exposure to the sun. When you’ve got a sunburn, your skin is red and sore, and often feels hot to touch.

  • Peter forgot to apply sunscreen and ended up with a bad sunburn.

Verbs and verb phrases

Upper-intermediate English vocabulary (verb phrases) about health problems and injuries

If you 1 throw up or if you are sick (UK Eng.), you vomit, i.e. you bring up the contents of your stomach.

  • John threw up on the carpet.

If you 2 pass out or faint, you lose consciousness.

  • Sam passed out on the bus because of the heat.

If you 3 come round after passing out, you regain consciousness.

  • After fainting in the heat, Emily finally came round when they gave her some water.

If you 4 suffer from an illness or condition, you have that illness or condition.

  • Lucy is suffering from depression.

If you 5 get better, you recover from an illness.

  • Tim was ill last week, but he‘s getting better.

If you 6 get sick or fall ill, you become sick or develop an illness.

  • He got sick with the flu last week. 

If you 7 get vaccinated or have a vaccination, you are given an injection to protect you from illness.

  • I get vaccinated against the flu every winter.

If you 8 treat a condition, you deal with an illness or injury with medicine or therapy.

  • He is treating his condition with painkillers.

If you 9 endure pain or discomfort, you experience pain or illness.

  • Poor James is enduring a lot of discomfort with his back injury.

If you 10 undergo surgery, you have an operation.

  • Doris underwent surgery to treat her knee injury.

If you 11 have a check-up (or checkup), you are examined by a doctor.

  • Luke has a check-up with his doctor every two years.

If the doctor 12 gives you a prescription, or prescribes medicine for you, he or she tells you what medicine or treatment to have.

  • Our doctor diagnosed a throat infection and prescribed antibiotics.


Painkillers are medicines such as aspirin, ibuprofen and paracetamol used to treat pain.

  • Daniel took some painkillers to ease his headache.

Antibiotics are medicines prescribed by doctors to treat infections.

  • The doctor prescribed me antibiotics for my throat infection.

Cough syrup is a medicine in liquid form that is used to treat coughs and sore throats.

  • Take this cough syrup twice a day and your cough will soon go away.

Laxatives are medicines used to treat constipation.

  • Tom took a laxative to help his constipation.

Antidepressants are a variety of medicines used to treat depression and anxiety.

  • Ruth takes antidepressants to ease her anxiety.

Sleeping pills are medicines used to treat insomnia.

  • After a week without sleep, I decided to take sleeping pills.