Feeling ill? What to Say in Italian When You're Sick

Thu, 12/05/2019 - 17:10

It’s the time of year when even the healthiest of us can get struck down with a seasonal illness. If this happens when you’re in Italy, it can be helpful to have the right vocabulary to talk about how you feel and what you need. With a little rest and a visit to the pharmacy if necessary, hopefully you’ll be fighting fit in no time.

Cold and flu

Let’s start with looking at the common cold and the flu and associated ailments:

Un raffreddore – a cold

Sono raffreddato/a – I have a cold (m/f)

Ho il raffreddore – I have a cold

L’influenza – the flu

Ho preso l’influenza – I’ve got the flu

Lo starnuto – a sneeze

La febbre – fever

Ho il naso che cola – I have a runny nose

La tosse – a cough

Tossire – to cough

Continuo a tossire – I keep coughing

Ho il naso chiuso – My nose is blocked


Aches and pains


Sometimes you might not have a full-blown cold, but just have some niggling aches and pains. Here are some ways to talk about them:


Mal di gola – sore throat

Ho mal di gola – I have a sore throat

Mal di testa – headache

Ho mal di testa – I have a headache

Mal di pancia – stomach ache

Ho mal di panica – I have a stomach ache / my tummy hurts

Il dolore – ache / pain

Mi fa male – It hurts


General illness


To express that you generally don’t feel well, you can use any of these expressions:


Sono malato – I’m sick / unwell

Mi sento male – I feel sick / unwell

Non mi sento bene – I don’t feel well


Getting better


It can be hard getting ill while travelling, but with the right treatment, hopefully you’ll be back to your normal self as quickly as possible. Here is some vocabulary that can help with asking for what you need to help you get better:


Il riposo – rest

Riposarsi – to rest

Ho bisogni di riposarmi – I need to rest

Stare a letto – to stay in bed

Voglio stare a letto – I want to stay in bed

Il tè – tea

La tisana – herbal tea

Mi prepari una tisana zenzero, limone e miele? – Can you make me a herbal tea with ginger, honey and lemon?

La zuppa – soup

Mi fai una zuppa? – Can you make me a soup?

La farmacia – pharmacy / chemist

La medicina / il farmaco – medicine / medication

L’antidolorifico – painkiller

Vorrei un antidolorifico – I would like a painkiller


I’ll leave you with one last expression:


Guarisci presto! – Get well soon!