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Foreign-language Customers

Help in an acute emergency

Annette van Gessel & Marta Campbell
27.02.2017  10:59 Uhr

People in foreign-speaking countries usually visit a pharmacy because of slight health problems. However, in some cases the pharmacy also acts as a first point of contact and as a mediator for medical care. Foreign-language customers are grateful if they can communicate in English.

Heart palpitations, vertigo attacks and nausea can have quite different causes. If they occur while on holiday or during a stay abroad, the fear of not being able to communicate may even enhance the symptoms. In such a situation, many first seek advice at a pharmacy.

Before the affected person’s individual case can be assessed correctly, pharmacy technicians or the pharmacist will need to ask a few questions.

Questions and information

  • Please briefly describe your health complaints.
  • Since when have you had these symptoms?
  • Are you familiar with these symptoms from earlier occasions?
  • Do you have an explanation for your current problem?
  • Have you been moving less than normally or, on the contrary, overexerted yourself during the last few days?
  • Do you usually take medication because of high blood pressure? Did you continue taking that medication as normally during the last few days?
  • Do you normally take medication to prevent a heart attack? Did you continue taking the medication as usual during the last few days?
  • You need to see a doctor immediately. Should I phone a doctor for you and advise him that you are coming?
  • You need to go to an emergency department at a clinic or hospital. Do you agree if I now call for an ambulance?

Additional information

  • Drink two to three litres fluid a day, preferably mineral water.
  • If your blood pressure drops, lie down and put up your legs at a right angle if possible.
  • As soon as you have returned home, see your doctor and clarify if a long-term medicinal therapy is necessary.


Deutsch / German Englisch / English
Atembeschwerden breathing difficulties; respiratory problems
Beschwerden health complaints, symptoms
Bewegung movement
Blutdruck hoher Blutdruck erhöhter Blutdruck niedriger Blutdruck blood pressure high blood pressure, hypertension raised blood pressure low blood pressure, hypotension
Brustschmerzen chest pains
Doppelsehen double vision
Engegefühl chest tightness
Herzinfarkt heart attack
Herzrasen heart palpitation
Klinik clinic; hospital
Krankenwagen ambulance
Lähmungen paralyses
Luftnot breathlessness
Notfallambulanz emergency ambulance
Schlaganfall stroke
Schwächegefühl feeling of faintness
Schweißausbruch onset of perspiration
Schwindel dizziness; vertigo
Sehstörungen impaired vision
Taubheitsgefühl numbness
Tremor tremor
Übelkeit nausea
Vocabulary on acute complaints