Spanish Vocabulary for the Coronavirus Pandemic

Our day-to-day life has been upended with COVID-19. While it would be nice to just ignore it and have it all go away, that is not our current reality.  Many of us, including myself, have felt helpless in this situation. It recently dawned on me that while I am not a medical provider, I am a Spanish teacher that can compile a list of Spanish vocabulary for those providing care to Coronavirus/COVID-19 patients in order to help bridge the communication gap. Please print out this list to share with others who may need it. If I missed any that you need, please leave me a message below and I will be sure to add it right away! If you would like a structured course to improve your Spanish, click here to learn about our self-paced or instructor-led online Medical Spanish courses.

The Noun "Coronavirus"

The word coronavirus, just like the Spanish word virus, is the same in singular or plural forms in Spanish. For example:

  • el coronavirus, el virus
  • los coronavirus, los virus
Coronavirus is a masculine noun made up of two words: corona, meaning crown, and virus, meaning virus. There is no need for spaces or hyphens as it is just one word.

General Nouns

Let’s start out with some common nouns when talking about Coronavirus or COVID-19. All of the following vocabulary lists will be organize by first in English, followed by Spanish, and then a phonetic pronunciation of the Spanish word. ¡Vamos!

coronavirus

el coronavirus

koh-roh-nah-BEE-roos

COVID-19

COVID-19

KOH-beed dee-ay-see-NWAY-bay

outbreak

el brote

el BROH-tay

pandemic

la pandemia

la pahn-DAY-mee-ah

quarantine

la cuarentena

la kwah-rane-TANE-ah

social distance

la distancia social

la dee-STAHN-see-ah soh-see-AHL

test

la prueba

la proo-AY-bah

     

crisis

la crisis

la KREE-sees

disinfectant

el desinfectante

el day-seen-fake-TAHN-tay

hand sanitizer

el desinfectante para manos

el day-seen-fake-TAHN-tay PAH-rah MAH-nohs

emergency

la emergencia

la ay-mare-HANE-see-ah

hotspot (site with multiple cases of infection)

el foco de contagios

el FOH-koh day cone-TAH-gee-ohs

infection

la infección

la een-fake-see-OWN

isolation

el aislamiento

el eye-slah-mee-ANE-toh

mask

la mascarilla

la mah-skah-REE-yah

negative test

la prueba negativa

la proo-AY-bah nay-gah-TEE-bah

people who have no symptoms (asymptomatic)

las personas asintomáticas

las pare-SOH-nahs ah-seen-toh-MAH-tee-kahs

person-to-person transmission

la transmisión secundaria

la trahns-mee-see-OWN say-kunh-DAR-ee-ah

positive test

la prueba positiva

la proo-AY-bah poh-see-TEE-bah

preventative isolation

el aislamiento preventivo

el eye-slah-mee-ANE-toh pray-bane-TEE-boh

risk of infection

el riesgo de infección

el ree-AY-skoh

self-isolation

el aislamiento en su domicilio

el eye-slah-mee-ANE-toh e soo doh-mee-SEE-lee-oh

sickness/disease

la enfermedad

la ane-fare-may-DAHD

soap

el jabón

el hah-BONE

transmission

la transmisión

la trahns-mee-see-OWN

General Verbs

 The following verbs are in the “infinitive” form – meaning that they haven’t yet been changed according to the subject.

to breathe

respirar

ray-speer-AR

to clean

limpiar

leem-pee-AR

to cough

toser

toh-SARE

to cover

cubrir

koo-BREER

to have

tener

tay-NARE

to isolate

aislarse

eyes-LAR-say

to need

necesitar

nay-say-see-TAR

to separate yourself

mantener alejado

mahn-tane-AIR ahl-ay-HAH-doh

to sneeze

estornudar

ay-storn-oo-DAR

to maintain a social distance (of 6 feet)

mantener un distanciamiento físico (de seis pies)

mahn-tane-ARE oon dee-stahn-see-ahm-mee-ANE-toh FEE-see-koh day sase pee-AYS

to wash

lavar

lah-BAR

Hygiene

Using some of the verbs above, these phrases have been conjugated so that you are able to use them for your patients and their families.

Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day.

Limpie todos los días todas las superficies de contacto frecuente.

LEEM-pee-ay TOH-dohs los DEE-ahs las soo-pare-FEE-see-ays day cone-TAHK-toh fray-KWANE-tay

Cover your coughs and sneezes.

Cúbrase la nariz y la boca al toser y estornudar.

KOO-brah-say la nah-REESE ee la BOH-kah ahl toh-SARE ee ay-storn-oo-DAR

Separate yourself from other people in your home.

Manténgase alejado de otras personas en su casa.

mahn-TANE-gah-say ahl-ay-HAH-doh day OH-trahs pare-SOHN-ahs en soo KAH-sah

Wash your hands often.

Lávese las manos con frecuencia.

LAH-bay-say las MAH-nohs cone fray-KWANE-see-ah

Wear a mask.

Use una mascarilla.

OO-say OO-nah mah-skar-EE-yah

Symptoms

Now it is time to ask our patients about their symptoms. Here are some of the more common phrases that you may see patients come in with.

Do you have…

¿Tiene…?

tee-AY-nay

a cold

un catarro, un resfrío

oon kah-TAR-oh, oon ray-SFREE-oh

body aches

dolores de cuerpo

doh-LORE-ays day KWARE-poh

chills

escalofríos

ay-skahl-oh-FREE-ohs

cough

tos

tohs

diarrhea

diarrea

dee-are-AY-ah

difficulty breathing

dificultad para respirar

dee-fee-kool-TAHD PAH-rah ray-speer-AR

dry cough

tos seca

tohs SAY-kah

fatigue

cansancio

kahn-SAHN-see-oh

fever

fiebre

fee-AY-bray

flu-like symptoms

síntomas similares a los de la gripe

SEEN-toh-mahs see-mee-LAR-ays ah los day la GREE-pay

headache

dolor de cabeza

doh-LORE day kah-BAY-sah

light symptoms

sintomas leves

SEEN-toh-mahs LAY-bays

nausea

náuseas

NOW-see-ahs

productive cough

flemas

FLAY-mahs

runny nose (formal)

secreción nasal

say-kray-see-OWN nah-SAHL

runny nose (informal)

moqueo

moh-KAY-oh

shortness of breath

falta de aire

FAHL-tah day EYE-day

sore throat

dolor de garganta

doh-LORE day gar-GAHN-tah

stuffy nose

nariz tapada

nah-REEZ tah-PAH-dah

vomiting

vómitos

BOH-mee-tohs

Phrases

 After you learn of the patient’s symptoms, you may need to say some of the following symptoms when talking about the next steps.

I’m going to perform a test for COVID-19

Voy a hacer una prueba para COVID-19

boy ah ah-SARE OO-nah proo-AY-bah PAH-rah KOH-beed dee-ay-see-NWAY-bay

I’m going to swab your nose/the back of your throat with this cotton bud.

Voy a tomar una muestra de la nariz/garganta con este hisopo de algodón.

boy a toh-MAR OO-nah MWAY-strah day la nah-REEZ/gar-GAHN-tah cone AY-stay ees-POH-doh day ahl-goh-DOHN

The results will be ready in … hours/days.

Los resultados estarán listos en … horas/dias.

los ray-sool-TAH-dohs ay-star-AHN LEE-stohs en … ORE-ahs/DEE-ahs

We have received the test results.

Tenemos los resultados de las pruebas de laboratorio.

tay-NAY-mohs los ray-sool-TAH-dohs day las proo-AY-bahs day lah-bore-ah-TORE-ee-oh

You have tested positive/negative for COVID-19.

La prueba de COVID-19 salió positiva/negativa.

la proo-AY-bah day KOH-beed dee-ay-see-NWAY-bay sah-lee-OH poh-see-TEE-bah/nay-gah-TEE-bah

Your symptoms are not typical of COVID.

Sus síntomas no son típicos del COVID.

soos SEEN-toh-mahs no sohn TEE-peep-kohs dale KOH-beed.

Diagnosis and Treatment

 Once the tests have come back, now you can give your patients a diagnosis and treatments options.

You have…

Tiene…

tee-AY-nay

coronavirus

el/los coronavirus

el/los core-oh-nah-BEE-doos

pneumonia

neumonía

nay-oo-moh-NEE-ah

an infection in the lungs

una infección en los pulmones

OO-nah een-fake-see-OWN en los pool-MOAN-ays

a respiratory virus

un virus respiratorio

oon BEE-doos ray-spee-rah-TORE-ee-oh

the flu

el gripe (la gripa-Mexico)

el GREE-pay

a cold

un catarro/un resfrío

oon kah-TAR-oh/oon ray-SFREE-oh

   

You need…

Necesita…

nay-say-SEE-tah

antiviral treatment

un tratamiento antiviral

oon trah-tah-mee-ANE-toh ahn-tee-bee-DAHL

supportive care/palliative care

cuidados paliativos

kwee-DAH-dohs pah-lee-ah-TEE-bohs

intensive care unit

una unidad de cuidados intensivos

OO-nah oo-nee-DAHD day kwee-DAH-dohs een-tane-SEE-bohs

   

You have to remain isolated at home … days.

Es necesario que se quede en casa, en aislación … días.

es nay-see-SAR-ee-oh kay say KAY-day en KAH-sah en eye-slah-see-OWN … DEE-ahs

Do not leave your house.

No salga de su casa.

no SAHL-gah day soo KAH-sah

If your symptoms worsen, seek medical attention immediately.

Si los síntomas se agraven, busque ayuda médica de inmediato.

see los SEEN-toh-mahs say ah-GRAH-bane,

Drink lots of fluids to stay hydrated.

Tome mucho líquido para permanecer hidratado.

TOH-may MOO-choh LEE-kee-doh PAH-rah pare-mah-nay-SARE ee-drah-TAH-doh

You need to look out for any difficulty with breathing. If this happens, seek medical attention.

Hay que estar alerta si siente una dificultad para respirar. En este caso, busque ayuda médica de inmediato.

eye kay ay-STAR ah-LARE-tah see see-ANE-tay OO-nah dee-fee-kool-TAHD PAH-rah ray-speer-AR. en AY-stay KAH-saoh, BOO-skay ah-YOO-dah MAY-dee-kah day een-may-dee-AH-toh

Statistics and Conditions

You see the numbers and statistics daily. Let’s see how to express those in Spanish.

number of infected

suma de infectados

SOO-mah day een-fake-TAH-dohs

those affected

los afectados

los ah-fake-TAH-dohs

those admitted to the hospital

los ingresados

los een-gray-SAH-dohs

recovered

los recuperados

los ray-koo-pare-AH-dohs

dead

muerto, fallecido

MWARE-toh, fah-yay-SEE-doh

serious condition

situación clínica grave

see-too-ah-see-OWN KLEEN-ee-kah GRAH-bay

critical state

estado crítico

ay-STAH-doh KREE-tee-koh

Miscellaneous Phrases

Finally, I have some other questions and phrases that you may find useful.

Have you been in close contact with someone who is known to have COVID-19?

¿Ha estado en contacto cercano con una persona que se sepa que tiene el COVID-19?

ah ay-STAH-doh en cone-TAHK-toh sare-KAH-noh cone OO-nah pare-SOH-nah kay say SAY-pah kay tee-AY-nay el KOH-beed dee-ay-see-NWAY-bay

Do you have health insurance?

¿Tiene seguro médico?

tee-AY-nay say-GOO-roh MAY-dee-koh

Do you need us to contact your family?

¿Necesita que contactemos con su familia?

nay-say-SEE-tah kay cone-tahk-TAME-oh cone soo fah-MEE-lee-ah

There was a possible exposure.

Había una posible exposición.

ah-BEE-ah OO-nah poh-SEE-blay ake-spoh-see-OWN

There is no vaccine for COVID.

No hay vacuna contra el COVID.

no eye bah-KOO-nah CONE-trah el KOH-beed

Stay home.

Quédese en casa

KAY-day-say en KAH-sah

Last but not least...

I hope you found these Spanish vocabulary words and phrases helpful as you continue to help your Spanish-speaking patients. Thank you for all that you are doing!

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