Talking about the flu in Spanish confidently

The flu is one of the most common illnesses. Knowing how to say flu in Spanish is something basic for healthcare professionals.

In this post I don’t want to only show you how to say flu in Spanish but also how you can communicate with your patient when you have this illness.

How to say flu in Spanish?

Flu in Spanish is “gripe” or “influenza”.

Depending on the country, one term or another will be used but you can make use of both.

If you use “influenza” and your patient doesn’t understand you, just say “gripe”. And all the way around, if you say “gripe” and they don’t understand you, use “influenza”. This way you will make sure they understand you 😉

Here’s a video lesson to show you how to talk about the flu in Spanish

Talking with your patient

When you talk to your patients about the flu in Spanish, you can talk about the following topics:

  • What is the flu (qué es la gripe)
  • Flu symptoms (síntomas de la gripe)
  • Possible complications (posibles complicaciones)
  • Flu treatment (tratamiento de la gripe)
  • Disease prevention (prevención de la enfermedad)

Each one of these categories has its own vocabulary and you need to know it to be able to give your patient all the necessary information.

Vocabulary to talk about the flu in Spanish

In order to explain to our patient what the flu is, we can use the following sentence:

“La gripe es una infección respiratoria provocada por un virus que se transmite por el aire y que entra en el cuerpo por la nariz o por la boca.”

  • With that sentence we are telling our patient what the flu is: an infection [una infección]
  • What causes this illness: a virus [un virus]
  • How it is transmitted from one person to another: by air [por el aire]
  • And how this virus enters the body: by the nose or mouth [por la nariz o por la boca]

Symptoms from a patient with the flu

The vocabulary for flu symptoms in Spanish is going to help you to better understand your patient.

To be able to know if it’s flu, firstly you will have to make a diagnosis. In order to do that, you will need to understand what your patient is telling you.

Look closely at the terminology:

Dolor de cabeza – Headache

Dolor de garganta – Sore throat

Mucosidad nasal – Nasal mucus

Cansancio o fatiga – Tiredness / fatigue

Dolor muscular (o en los músculos) – Muscle pain

Escalofríos – Shivers

Tos – Cough

Fiebre  – Fever

flu in spanish

Talking about the different treatments

When you prescribe medication to a patient, you have to give them its name in the appropriate language.

However, you can explain them what type of medication is. This will put their minds at ease and they will know what they are taking.

Antitérmico – Antipyretic

Antiviral – Antiviral

Antitusígeno – Antitussive

Reposo – Rest

Hidratación – Hydration

Inhalaciones de vapor – Steam inhalers

Baños tibios – Warm bath

Okay, okay. Rest, hydration, steam inhalers and warm baths ARE NOT medicines but more like actions the patients can take to improve their symptoms 😉

Possible complications that may appear

When we talk about the flu in Spanish with a patient who might be at risk of suffering complications: pregnant women, people over 65 years old, etc. there is the possibility of talking about the complications they might suffer.

Here’s the vocabulary:

Infección moderada – Moderate infection

Infección grave – Serious infection

Infecciones sinusales – Sinus infections

Infecciones de oído – Ear infections

Neumonía – Pneumonia

Miocarditis – Myocarditis

Encefalitis – Encephalitis

Miositis – Myositis

Insuficiencia multiorgánica –  Multiorgan failure

Talking about how to prevent the flu in Spanish

When the flu prevention and its infection season comes, doctors and nurses are constantly reminding groups most at risk of how and what to do.

In this period, the vocabulary and sentences you will hear, and even use, are here:

Vacunación – Vaccination

Fumar – Smoke

Inhalar humo de tabaco – Inhalation of tobacco smoke

Lavarse las manos – Wash hands

Usar pañuelos desechables – Use disposable tissues

Evitar contacto directo con personas enfermas – Avoiding direct contact with ill people


I hope this post about the flu in Spanish helps you to improve your communication with your patients. Leave me your comment below.

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