Covid-19: The essential Italian you need to know for getting tested and vaccinated

By now it's likely you've learned some vocab related to Covid, viruses and vaccinations. But what if you start experiencing symptoms or are called up for your jab? Here are the phrases to help you navigate your medical care in Italian.

Covid-19: The essential Italian you need to know for getting tested and vaccinated
Photo by Marco Bertorello / AFP

Being in hospital for any reason is a stressful situation and even more so if you’re not totally sure what your doctor or nurse is saying to you.

It can be difficult to find English-speaking doctors in Italy, even in the bigger cities, so it’s good to be prepared and brush up on your language skills to make the whole experience a little smoother.

Covid-19 vaccination phrases:

When it’s your turn to get your vaccination, here’s the language you may need to use:

Il vaccino – the vaccine

Quale vaccino mi farete?/Quale vaccino avró? – Which vaccine will I get?

Potrei avere una reazione allergica? – Could I have an allergic reaction?

Quali sono gli effeti collaterali? – What are the side effects?

Quando avró la seconda dose? – When will I have my second dose?

Come mi contatterete? – How are you going to get in touch with me?

Posso scegliere su quale braccio fare il vaccino? – Can I choose which arm to get the vaccine on?

Essential vocabulary for symptoms:

If you think you may have caught Covid, here are some phrases that will allow you to express your symptoms and get checked out.

Sospetto/penso di avere il Covid – I suspect I have Covid

Devo andare in ospedale? – Do I have to go the hospital?

Devo andare/stare in isolamento mentre aspetto i risultati? – Do I have to self-isolate while I wait for the results?

Vorrei prendere un appuntamento – I would like to make an appointment

Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP

Mi fa male qui – It hurts here

Ho la febbre – I have a fever

Mi gira la testa – I feel dizzy

Ho la tosse secca – I have a dry cough

Ho perso il gusto/l’olfatto – I’ve lost my sense of taste/smell

Ho difficoltà a respirare/Faccio fatica a respirare – I’m having difficulty breathing

Ho la nausea e ho vomitato – I am feeling nauseated and have vomited

Ho male allo stomaco/Ho male alla pancia – I’ve got stomach ache/I’ve got tummy ache (belly area)

Ho la diarrea – I’ve got diarrhoea 

Medical tests:

You may need to undergo some tests to check if you’re positive or negative for Covid. The following shows the vocabulary you’ll need to understand the various tests your doctor may mention.

La PCR – PCR test

Il test antigenico – antigen test

Analisi del sangue – Blood test

Analisi delle urine – Urine test

Raggi-X/Radiografia – X-ray

Quando arrivano i risultati? – When will the results come back?

Photo by Fred SCHEIBER / AFP

What the doctor might ask or tell you:

Sei venuto a contatto con persone positive al Covid? –  Have you come into contact with a person who’s tested positive for Covid?

Sei venuto a contatto con altre persone?  – Have you come into contact with other people?

Dove fa male? – Where does it hurt?

Da quando hai questi sintomi? – Since when have you had these symptoms?

È la prima volte che ti succede? – Is this the first time it’s happened?

Devi venire a stomaco vuoto/a digiuno – You need to come with an empty stomach/without eating

There are certain tests, particularly blood tests, for which you need to skip your meals that day. Your doctor may ask you to come digiuno, or ‘on an empty stomach’.

Hai allergie? – Do you have allergies?

Dobbiamo fare qualche test – We have to run some tests

Sei risultato positivo/negativo al Covid – You have tested positive/negative for Covid

Devi stare a casa per 14 giorni e non puoi entrare a contatto con le persone con cui vivi – You have to stay at home for 14 days and you can’t come into contact with the people you live with

Dobbiamo portarti in ospedale/Terapia Intensiva – We have to admit you to hospital/the ICU

Hopefully you won’t need some of these phrases, but knowing the language you may need is half the fight to keeping calm through these processes.

Member comments

  1. Could you provide more information on how someone who does not participate in ASL can get vaccinated? The conventional procedure — making the reservation — involves one’s tessera sanitaria, and one cannot finalize the online application without this information. Thank you.

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Cases of West Nile fever surge in northern Italy

Italy recorded a spike in cases of West Nile fever in the past week and remains by far the worst-affected country in Europe, new data shows.

Cases of West Nile fever surge in northern Italy

Italy has recorded more than 50 new West Nile virus infections in a week, with a total number of 144 cases and ten fatalities this summer so far.

This equated to a 53 percent increase in cases over the last seven days, Italy’s Higher Health Institute (ISS) said in a report published on Thursday.

Three more people died from the virus in the last week, bringing the total death toll up to 10. 

All known cases and deaths so far were in the northern Italian regions of Veneto, Piedmont, Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna.

The infection is not new to Italy, but this summer has brought the highest number of cases recorded yet.

READ ALSO: Italy reports a surge in deaths this summer due to extreme heat

Cases remain relatively rare in Europe overall, but Italy has by far the largest number.

According to the most recent report from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), dated August 3rd, 120 cases were recorded this year so far – 94 of which were in Italy.

Greece reported 23 cases, Romania two and Slovakia one. Only Italy has reported fatalities.

Carried by birds, West Nile virus is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes.

West Nile fever cannot pass from human to human and most infected people show no symptoms, according to the ISS.

In healthy people the virus is unlikely to cause more than a headache or sore throat. 

The infection is usually only dangerous for people with weakened immune systems such as the elderly, and the most severe symptoms occur in fewer than one percent of infected people.

There is no vaccine for West Nile fever. “Currently vaccines are being studied, but for the moment prevention consists mainly in reducing exposure to mosquito bites,” the ISS states.

Italy’s health authorities advises taking precautions against mosquitos, especially during the insects’ peak activity at sunrise and sunset. Recommendations include:

  • Use repellent.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long trousers.
  • Sleep in rooms with air-conditioning where possible and keep windows closed or screened.
  • Use mosquito nets.

See more information on West Nile fever in Italy on the health ministry’s website.