Category: "Medical conditions"


by Don  

I'm back in Russia and I have a new language partner, Alan.¹ The first day we got together, we ended up walking 13 km around Kazan; call it 8 miles. Now mind you, I've hardly gotten any exercise at all this last year. So what happens when you have hardly walked at all and suddenly you walk mucho? You get blisters. The Russian word for blister is мозоль.


Of course you often find this word in contexts about walking.

Я вчера ходил столько, что стёр ноги до мозолей. I walked so much yesterday that I got blisters on my feet.
Я вчера ходил столько, что натёр ноги до мозолей.
В Париже моя сестра находила мозоли на ногах. My sister walked until she got blisters in Paris.

So why do these things pop up?

Мозоли образуются от сильного трения кожи. Blisters are caused by excessive friction on the skin.

I was actually embarrassed to get blisters, but it looks like I'm in good company.

После пятидневных полевых учений, в программу которых входил десятимильный забег через лес с рюкзаком и винтовкой, Принц Гарри обратился в медпункт академии для лечения мозолей на ногах. Увидев, насколько сильно натер себе ноги молодой принц, врачи решили выдать ему специальное разрешение не носить армейские ботинки до тех пор, пока не заживут мозоли. (adapted from this source) After a five days of field training that included a ten-mile run through the forest with backpack and and rifle, Prince Harry went to the academy's first-aid station to get treatment for blisters on his feet. Having seen the extent to which the prince had abraded his feet, the doctors decided to give him special permission not to wear army boots until the blisters heal.

Nowadays what is the standard advice if you get a blister?

Если мозоль созрела, не протыкайте ее (за исключением случая острой боли). Вскрыв мозоль, вы рискуете занести инфекцию. (adapted from this source) If the blister has already formed, don't lance it (except in cases of sharp pain). When you slit open a blister, you risk introducting an infection.

That's sort of the standard advice from both Russian and American sources. I consider it hogwash. Let's say you take a needle and sterilize it and the surface of your skin decently with alcohol. If you lance dead skin, your skin is not likely to be infected. When the liquid squeezes out, most likely infection isn't going to be sucked in. In any case, that's what I've done, and I promise to post here if I get infected.

One last comment. If you look up the word blister in the dictionary, you are likely to find it translated as волдырь. Dictionaries really need to give better guidance on this issue. If a blister forms from exposure to intense heat or cold or caustic chemicals or insect bites, then the Russians usually call that a волдырь. One that forms on your foot from friction is a мозоль. But a мозоль can also just be a plain old callus on your foot as well. If you need to distinguish the two in Russian, you can call a callus «кожная мозоль» and a blister «мокрая мозоль».

¹ No, that is not a Russian name, but if the singer Prince (not Prince Harry) can change his name to an unpronounceable symbol, then why can't a Russian/Tatar kid go by Alan?


by Don  

The word for flu in Russian is грипп. It is a perfectly regularly first declension noun:


The flu is a pretty miserable experience, so let's document how to talk about our misery.

У меня грипп. I have the flu.
Мне нужно лекарство от гриппа. I need flu medicine.
— Я всегда лечу грипп водкой.
— А это помогает?
— Не знаю, но по крайней мере я чувствую себя лучше.
“I always treat the flu with vodka.”
“And does that help?”
“I don't know, but at least I feel better.”
По Москве ходит ужасный грипп. There is a terrible strain of flu going around Moscow.*

* For some dialects of English you could translate this as “There is a terrible flu going around Moscow.” In my dialect of American English it is ungrammatical to use the indefinite article with the word flu.


by Tatiana  

Weakness, cough and stuffed nose - we all have experienced these symptoms of the common cold. It ruins your plans and makes it so hard to get out of bed in the morning. Unfortunately, I feel very closely connected to today’s word right now. XX( I cannot wait to get over it!

In Russian, the common cold is called простуда. It is a noun of feminine gender.

— Ты не знаешь, что с Мишей случилось? Он опять не пришёл на урок.
— Наверное борется с очередной простудой.
“Do you know what happened to Misha? He was once again absent in class.”
“He is probably fighting another cold.”
Из-за моей простуды я уже четвёртый день не встаю с постели. Because of my cold I haven't got out of bed for four days now.
Что вы мне можете рассказать о своей простуде? Какие у вас симптомы? What can you tell me about your cold? What are your symptoms?

The adjective formed from простуда is простуженный.

— Как же ты лекцию читать будешь таким простуженным голосом?
— Ничего страшного, не в первый раз.
“How are you going to lecture with such a husky voice?”
“No big deal. It won’t be the first time.”

There are different methods of treating a cold. I can think of a few now that I remember from my childhood. I think the worst one had to do with garlic and onions. First, naturally, you had to eat a lot of garlic and then hold your head above a pot with fresh cut onions and breathe it in. After that the cold would most likely still be there for a few days, but all self-respecting people and/or vampires would choose to stay away... &#59;D

Here's a cute cartoon that shows other methods we treat the common cold with.


by Tatiana  

With approaching summer and rising temperatures, all the thick layers of warm clothing will soon be coming off. Along with them, the naked truth will come out: what these few cold sunless months have done to your skin. That is what some lucky people worry about, the ones who are actually able to tan. I, personally, cannot do so. I gave up a long time ago and made peace with my sad white existence. I live in Arizona, where the sun shines most of the year, so you might think my skin would cooperate… You’d be wrong.

In Russian tan is called загар. It is a noun of male gender. Its diminutive form is загарчик. However, загарчик is usually used as a joke, to describe bad or even unfortunate tan cases.

Ты видела Катин загарчик? Одна сторона красная, другая - белая! Она на пляже на боку заснула. "Did you see Katya’s tan? One side is red and the other is white! She fell asleep on her side on the beach."
— У тебя очень красивый загар. Ты в солярий ходила?
— Нет, я только что из отпуска вернулась.
“You have a beautiful tan. Did you go to the tanning salon?"
“No, I just came back from my vacation.”
— Что-то ты слишком бледная, что такое?
— Всё нормально. Это ты меня просто без загара не видел.
“You are too pale, is anything wrong?”
“Everything is fine. It’s just you haven’t seen me without tan.”

The adjective formed from загар is загoрелый.

Витя такой загорелый с Гавайев вернулся, прямо не узнать! "Vitya came back from Hawaii so tanned; I barely recognized him!"
И почему я не могу такой же загoрелой быть, как Оля? Мне бы пошло! "Why can’t I be as tanned as Olya? It would look good on me!"

Unfortunately, sometimes we want that perfect tan so much that we forget what a few extra minutes in the sun can do to our skin. However, if you have overdone it, I know the best way to treat it! Brace yourself: it’s sour cream! All of my American friends make fun of my folksy methods; but the truth is that it really works! Just apply fresh sour cream on your sunburned skin and leave it for a few minutes. Not only does it feel refreshing and calms down the burning sensation but it also helps the burns subside faster. The trick is to apply it as soon as possible. Ever since I can remember, my family has used sour cream to treat the sunburns. So, I hope you all will be careful and won’t get sunburned. However, if it happens, you should try this method. Trust me, you won’t regret it!


by Tatiana  

I’m sure we have all had our moments, drinking at a party, when all of the people somehow keep managing to have a great time, but you feel so sick that you simply must leave… Hopefully, it happens at the end of the night after someone safely drops you off at home. Unfortunately, not all of us are always that lucky…

The magical feeling preceding the gross outcome, nausea, is called тошнота in Russian. Consequently, the verb for being nauseous is тошнить. Unlike in English, when you say, “I’m sick” or “I’m nauseous”, Russians say that something is being done to them.

Где здесь туалет? Мне очень надо... меня страшно тошнит! Where is the restroom here? I really need to go… I’m feeling very nauseous!
Когда моя жена была беременна, её тошнило каждое утро. When my wife was pregnant, she felt nauseous every morning.
Валю с утра тошнит: он перепил вчера. Valya feels sick in the morning: he drank too much yesterday.
— Ты себя хорошо чувствуешь? Ты очень бледная.
— Я всегда так волнуюсь перед экзаменом, меня аж тошнит.
“Are you feeling well? You are very pale.”
“I am always so nervous before exams that I feel sick.”

The adverb тошно is also used to describe a feeling of nausea.

Мне тошно, наверное я чем-то отравилась. I’m feeling sick; I bet I got food poisoning.

Just like in English, the verb тошнить can be used figuratively.

— Лена, а где же Костя? Вы обычно всюду вместе ходите.
— Даже и не спрашивай, он мне так надоел - меня от него уже тошнит!
“Lena, where is Kostya? You are usually always together.”
“Don’t even ask! I’ve had enough of him; he makes me sick!”
— Ну как тебе занятия в новой школе?
— Да меня уже тошнит от всех этих книжек и тетрадок! Хочу на каникулы!
“How do you like your classed in your new school?”
“I’m sick of all the textbooks and notebooks already! I want to be on vacation already!”

I remember the first time I went to San Diego. My friend and I drove all day and after checking into our hotel, we realized we were hungry. However, everything was closed except for a little convenient store down the street. We figured we could grab something small to eat before doing anything else. That was a rookie mistake: I can barely remember what happened to me for the next couple of days. I don’t remember the famous San Diego zoo because we never made it there. However, what I remember perfectly is the fastest way to get from the bed the bathroom and back crawling. It was the most awful food poisoning I have ever experienced. I wouldn’t wish that to my worst enemy.

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