Germany has one of the best healthcare systems in Europe and expats living and working in the country are eligible to access subsidized German healthcare services. 

However, when you are in a foreign country and you fall sick then you should know some basic native medical terms.

Learn these German medical terms, and you will not have to worry about getting sick in Germany. Should it happen, you’ll be able to navigate the doctor (Arzt, or Ärtzin for a female doctor) with confidence.

1) das Fieber (fever)

If you are feeling hot and cold, sweaty and feverish, you will need to know this word. Tell the doctor “Ich habe Fieber” (I have a fever) or, perhaps the doctor will ask you, “Haben Sie Fieber?” (Do you have a fever?). Other related words are Erkältung meaning cold and Grippe means flu.

2) die Krakenkasse (health insurance)

This is the most important thing in Germany, when it comes to medical help. If you do not want to pay your bills, then you should know when someone is asking for your health insurance. Tell them “Ich habe die Krankenkasse” (I have the health insurance.) and you are good to go.

3) die Krankengeschichte (medical history)

It is essential for your doctor to know, if you have any medical history. You should tell you doctor “Ich habe eine Krankengeschichte von … ” (I have a medical history of …) It will help your doctor to diagnose you and give your proper Medikamente (medicines).

4) das Thermometer (thermometer)

“Thermometer” is one of those blessed German-English words. With this word, you will be able to buy a thermometer at Apotheke (pharmacy) or ask your hotel to borrow one.

Keep in mind that the thermometer you encounter in Germany will be in Celsius. Thirty-eight degrees Celsius is equivalent to approximately 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, so if your temperature is above 38 degrees Celsius, you are having a fever.

5) die Praxis (doctor’s office)

Doctors’ offices are called the Praxis in Germany. You will need to know this word for two reasons: one, because when you are searching Google to find a doctor’s office, you might need to use this word if you are not getting sufficient results with your English terms.

You might also need it after you have made your appointment and are making your way to the doctor’s office. You should be able to spot the sign and figure out where you are going.

6) der Schmerz (pain)

It means pain and can be clubbed with different body parts. For example, Kopfschmerz means “headache,” Bauchschmerz means “stomachache” and Rückenschmerz means “back pain.”

You would say, “Ich habe Kopfschmerz” (I have headache).

7) der Termin (appointment)

This is the most important word to remember. While making an appointment, you should say the receptionist “Ich möchte einen Termin machen” (I would like to make an appointment).

The receptionist will likely ask you for die Adresse (address), die Telefonnummer (telephone number), der Vorname (first name) and der Nachname (last name). Give him or her the required information. Voila! You will have a much-needed appointment.

8) die Verschreibung/das Rezept (doctor’s prescription)

If the doctor wants to give you medicine to help you recover from your illness, you’ll need eine Verschreibung/das Rezept (a prescription). You can take this to the Apotheke, where you can purchase these medicines.

9) heilen (to heal)

Finally, this word that represents the goal of all this: heilen, “to heal.” Heilen is a verb that takes accusative; hopefully the doctor will heilen dich (heal you). He can give you eine Spritze (injection) or einen Saft (syrup) or eine Salbe (ointment). If its a fracture, you can get einen Gipsverband (plaster).

Some common German phrases and words, that will help you to navigate the medical system, get better and enjoy in

  • Sind Sie gegen irgendetwas allergisch? – Are you allergic to anything?
  • Wo tut es weh? – Where does it hurt?
  • Husten Sie bitte. – Cough, please
  • Machen Sie den Mund auf – Open your mouth
  • Mir ist schwindlig – I feel dizzy
  • Ich verschreibe Ihnen … – I am going to prescribe
  • Ich habe Schwellung. – I have swelling
  • Mein Bein blutet. My leg bleeds
  • die Infektion – the infection
  • das Jucken – the itching
  • die Blutgruppe – the blood group
  • das Röntgen – the X-Ray
  • die Kotze – the vomit
  • die Verletzung – the injury

With these basic German phrases and words in mind, you will be on your way of healing

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