At The Pharmacy

What do you call a person who works at a pharmacy? There is a lot of new vocabulary here for you guys, so grab a cup of coffee and tune in! Enjoy :)


Neehao amigos, you are listening to English Made Simple, this is episode number #76, numero setenta y seis.

Bienvenidos a English Made Simple, Welcome to the English Made Simple show, my name is Milena from

Hey guys, I am going to begin this episode on a serious note, my heart goes out to the people of Chile. I know they are going through some rough time(s) battling bushfires in the Southern and Central parts of Chile.

Apparently, these are the worst wildfires on record to hit Chile. I have listeners from all around Chile, so just wanted to take this opportunity to send a special message to everyone out there to please be careful and to look after each other.

And now let’s start off with something on a more positive side:

First of all Happy New Year amigos! Goodbye Monkey, Hello Rooster! Adios a el Mono, Bienvenido el año del Gallo!

Chinese New Year or the Spring Festival is an important Chinese festival celebrated at the end of the Chinese calendar. Why am I telling you all this?
Well, because it is another big celebration in Australia. The City of Melbourne attracts 250,000 party goers to mark Chinese New Year, it is the second most celebrated festival in Melbourne city after the New Year.

BTW, Ni-hao is hello in Mandarin, the official language of China. So, Ni-hao to all of my listeners!

In today’s episode we are going to learn some new vocabulary related with pharmacies, medications and different ailments. A few people have requested for me to do an episode about this, so here we are! Thanks to my listeners from Chile, thanks to Marcela and Sergio, thank you amigos for bringing it to my attention.

Today’s episode is for people who have ever needed to see a pharmacist or had to go to a pharmacy for various treatments, or had to buy drugs, by drugs I mean medicine or just to get advice from a chemist or a pharmacist about a particular disorder.

And before we proceed any further, I’d like to send a special hello to Jose Luís from Guadalajara Mexico. Orale Buey! Thank you for listening to the English Made Simple show, I am glad it’s helping you with improving your English. And thanks Jose Luis for your nice comments as well.
So guys, let’s begin!

What do we call a person who works at a pharmacy?
Remember in the US they call a pharmacy, a drugstore or a chemist. You can say, I am going to the chemist. I am going to the drugstore. In Australia we say a pharmacy. I am going to the pharmacy.

That person is a pharmacist, or a pharmaceutical chemist or just a chemist for short. It has 3 different names I guess, but in Australia we say a pharmacist.
A pharmacist works at the pharmacy. A teacher works at the school. When we talk about professions we usually put article ‘a’ before the noun– I’m a consultant. I’m an engineer. I’m a pharmacist, for example.

So now let’s continue.

A pharmacist works in the pharmaceutical industry – what’s a pharmaceutical industry? Well, according to WEON INTELIGENTE or the Online Dictionary, The pharmaceutical industry discovers, develops, produces, and markets drugs or pharmaceutical drugs for use as medications.

Medications? What a great word, it means drugs or just medicine. In Spanish it medicamentos. We use medications to treat different kinds of ailments or illnesses, sickness or minor diseases.

Let’s look at the following example – and most of the examples here are from my personal experience involving a doctor or a pharmacist.

When you go to see a GP – a GP is short for General Practitioner, or simply a doctor, for example, you might have a headache or stomach ache, and you need to see a doctor. The doctor examines you and decides hmmm perhaps you need some medicine to treat your illness. So what happens next is the doctor then writes a prescription.

This prescription, or in Spanish it receta medica, is just a piece of paper with writing that only makes sense to a doctor and to a pharmacist. Only they can understand what is written on this piece of paper. I always thought doctors don’t know how to write, I can never understand their handwriting.

Now, you take this piece of paper, you take the prescription to a pharmacy, any pharmacy out there. A pharmacist then fills the prescription and gives you the medication. A medication can be in a liquid form, it can be a cream or a gel or an ointment (ointment is another way to say crème), or tablets, capsules or pills and so on. A pharmacist is also able to recommend alternative brands to treat your condition.

There are two ways you can get medicine from a pharmacy. You can only get it if you have a valid prescription from a doctor or you can get it over-the-counter at a pharmacy.

New term for you guys, over-the-counter. Over-the-counter medicine usually treats minor ailments, it is medicine that is directly sold to you without the prescription. Most of these drugs are placed on shelves inside the pharmacy.

These medications are things like painkillers or pain relief medicine, I normally use Panadol, or in Spanish it’s aspirinas or panadól, also nasal sprays to treat a blocked nose, throat lozenges or cough lollies to soothe your sore throat, a cough syrup when you are coughing (cuando tienes tos), tablets or pills to ease your allergies, you can get supplements, vitamins, sport supplements, band-aids, prescription glasses, anti-depressants, baby formulas, cold & flu tablets, things like that.

I often go to see a pharmacist to obtain advice on the best pain relief out there, for example, if I had a headache, what would they recommend, I could have a headache due to chronic migraines, or due to the sinus infection. The pharmacist will know what questions to ask you in order to determine the right medicine for your condition. They can recommend something that doesn’t have serious side-effects.

Just earlier I mentioned headache – the word “Ache” is a synonym for Pain, in Spanish dolor. A person can have a headache – dolor de cabeza o jaquecas, stomach ache – dolor de estomago, or another way to say it is an “upset tummy”, nice way to say a “stomach bug”, back ache – dolor de espalda o lumbar, a heartache (dolor de Corazon, cuando te duele el corazon)….ooops a pharmacist cannot treat a heartache, dolor de corazon, cuando te duele el corazón, oops a pharmacist cannot treat a heartache only Enrique Iglesias can.

A heartache is a broken heart, you could be suffering from a heartache due to a breakup of a romantic relationship, or when you are disappointed of someone or even due to a friendship breakup. Cool.

New term, side-effect. In Spanish it is efectos secundarios. Most drugs could have unpleasant side-effects. Side effects, basically means: any effect of a drug or medicine that occurs in addition to its intended effect, it could be a harmful or unpleasant effect. Basically you could be unwell just by taking this drug.

I also see a pharmacist about my hay fever or mi alergia. Especially during springtime when my hay fever becomes unbearable (intratable o sin control), I just have to get something to relieve the symptoms. The symptoms of hay fever are runny nose, watery eyes, congestion and sneezing, sometimes you get a headache, you become sleepy or drowsy (another word for sleepy, it’s drowsy – con sueño, adormecido o medio volado in Spanish) or some people even get itchy skin due to their allergies – when someone has itchy skin they have an urge to scratch it. Itchy skin in Spanish cuando te pica la piel, when the skin is itchy you have to scratch it, tienes que rascarte.

Hay fever is an allergic reaction caused by pollens, dust mites, moulds or animal hair.

I also go to the pharmacy to get something for cold sores, in Spanish that’s ‘aftas’. When I am under too much stress, I tend to get cold sores, sometimes I get pimples or acne or skin breakouts even. This happens when my immune system is low, I just need to look after myself better, I need to rest, need plenty of sleep, I also need to take vitamins, overall just take a better care of myself.

Oh wow! So many new words here, awesome, cool bananas, are you following me so far? To help you follow this episode, I recommend you take some caffeine, that’s my drug of choice! Caffeine is a stimulant that can be found in coffee! Caffeine is called a stimulant because it can stimulate your central nervous system, it affects your mood.
I drink coffee because it keeps me awake, really.

Now, I am not sure what it is like in your respective countries, but in Australia you can find all sorts of things at the pharmacy, not necessarily related to drugs or medicine. But they also sell things like shampoos, make-up, laundry detergents, tissues, toothpastes, toothbrushes, mouthwash, hairbrushes, basically things that you can buy from a supermarket.

So, wow, here we are again, so many new words for you in today’s episode.

So let me just sum up the most important words we used in today’s episode.
A person who works at a pharmacy or a drugstore is called a pharmacist.
Headaches, stomach aches, back aches – ache is another word for pain. It’s a synonym.
Synonym for ailment is disease, sickness, a mild illness, disorder or upsets or in Spanish, afección de salud.

An adjective for pain, is painful. When something hurts a lot it is painful or in Spanish it is doloroso.

Earlier, I mentioned something like a sore throat, the word sore is also an adjective. In Spanish it si dolor de garganta, a sore throat. You can say I have a painful throat, or a sore throat. The most common one and the most natural way to say is two words – sore throat.

I also use the adjective sore when I talk about my muscles, I get sore muscles after a session at the gym. After pumping some iron. Sorry that was slang, Pumping Iron is a movie by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Let’s continue, we learnt something called hay fever or allergies – people have allergies during the season of spring. Many people suffer from hay fever when there is a change of season.

When someone is under stress they could be prone to pimples, skin breakouts, or even cold sores. Cold sores are those ugly little things, I hate them – those transparent bubbly-looking things that appear on top of your lips. Usually it comes out during winter when the immune system is low or when you are stressed.

We also covered some phrasal verbs such as, take care of myself or take care of yourself, also look after yourself, these are phrasal verbs. They mean, cuidarse la salud in Spanish. To be careful about your health or just be cautious in general. Take care, it can also mean Goodbye or Cuidáte – usually said as a farewell in a very friendly manner. Take care, bye!

So we have reached the end of today’s episode, hope you found it useful, hope it wasn’t too painful haha, I want you to take care of yourself wherever you happen to be.

Today was a bit of an overview, a generic explanation of what happens at the pharmacy, and what we can get from the pharmacy and you’ve also learnt some new vocabulary. I recommend you listen to this episode again to help you remember the words. And next week we are going to delve deeper, we are going to elaborate on what we learnt today, I want you to learn how to ask for help when you are feeling sick at the pharmacy, what to say when you are at the pharmacy or at the doctor’s.

So, thank you for joining me amigos, transcriptions coming soon, will be available on my website, Take care of yourselves and hasta la proxima!

Learn English With Milena

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