Hi, I hope you are well. I'm Manon, your French teacher for Ohlala French Course.

How are you doing these days? No, I'm asking because between the coming winter with all its illnesses and the imminent approach of a possible fifth wave of Covid-19, it's important to check in.

Perfect transition: wouldn't it be useful to know how to talk about your health and illnesses in French? A little bit, right?

Well, that's good because that's what I'm going to talk about today.

We're going to see how to talk about your health, how to answer the doctor's questions, how to describe your symptoms, how to get news about someone who is sick and how to wish someone a good recovery.


Doctor's Questions in french:

Well, normally, the first thing to do when you are sick is to go to the doctor. Unless you are self-medicating like 8 out of 10 French people. Self-medication is taking medication without medical advice.

So what questions might a French doctor ask you?

The doctor may ask you:

  • Qu’est-ce qui vous amène ?

That is, why do you come to the doctor?

We'll see how to answer this question right after.


  • Quels sont vos symptômes ?

That is, how do you feel? Where does it hurt?


  • Avez-vous des problèmes de santé en particulier ?

That is, other than the symptoms you have, do you have any other health problems?


  • Avez-vous des antécédents médicaux ? 

That is, if you have had serious or significant medical problems in the past.


Describe your symptoms in French:

Let's see how we can describe our symptoms. We can describe our symptoms to the doctors, but also to someone close to us who asks about us.

To talk about our state of health, we will use the verb “être” or “se sentir” :

  • Je suis malade
  • Je me sens mal / Je me sens pas bien / Je me sens faible

More colloquially, we can say:

  • je suis patraque / je me sens patraque 

That is, I feel sick.

Afterwards, we will detail and talk about our symptoms:

To express the pain, we will use “avoir + mal”.

  • J’ai mal à la gorge / J’ai mal à la tête / J’ai mal au ventre / etc.

We also have the specific symptoms of the diseases. 

The symptoms of the cold are:

  • le nez qui coule : j’ai le nez qui coule

  • ou le nez bouché : j’ai le nez bouché

  • un mal de tête : j’ai mal à la tête

  • un mal de gorge : j’ai mal à la gorge

  • une toux : je tousse

We can have une toux sèche, i.e. without secretions or une toux grasse, i.e. with secretions.

  • des éternuements : j’éternue beaucoup

The symptoms of the flu are:

  • de la fièvre : j’ai de la fièvre / j’ai 39 de fièvre

  • une toux sèche : j’ai une toux sèche

  • de la fatigue : je suis très fatigué(e) / je me sens fatigué(e)

  • des courbatures : j’ai des courbatures

  • des frissons : j’ai des frissons

And we have the symptoms of the Covid-19 :

There are flu-like symptoms and other symptoms such as :

  • une perte de goût et d’odorat : je n’ai plus de goût ni d’odorat

  • des difficultés respiratoires : j’ai du mal à respirer

  • une douleur au niveau de la poitrine : j’ai mal au niveau de la poitrine

And to talk about diseases, we can use several verbs:

  • the verb “avoir” : j’ai un rhume

  • the verb “attraper” : j’ai attrapé la grippe

  • more colloquially, the verb “choper” : j’ai chopé le / la Covid-19

You can also often hear a French person say : j’ai chopé la crève. La crève, It is a cold or a flu.


Checking up on someone :

In winter and during a pandemic, it's important to check in on our loved ones.

Here are a few questions to ask when checking in on your loved ones :

  • Comment tu te sens ?

  • Ça va ? 

  • Ça va mieux ?

  • Tu te sens bien ?

  • Tu te sens mieux aujourd’hui ?

We also have questions that we can ask when the person has recovered, when he or she is no longer sick:

  • Est-ce que tu as récupéré ?

  • Tu as retrouvé la forme ?

  • Tu as repris du poil de la bête ?

It's an idiomatic expression “reprendre du poil de la bête” which means that we regain energy after an illness.


Wish a speedy recovery in french :

Of course, if someone close to us is sick, we will wish them a speedy recovery.

Here are several sentences that can be said :

  • Bon rétablissement !

  • Soigne-toi bien !

  • Prends soin de toi !

  • Rétablis-toi bien !

  • Prompt rétablissement !

  • Repose-toi bien !

  • Remets-toi vite !

I'll see you soon for new adventures, in French of course! 🇫🇷