© Halfpoint - Fotolia.com

English for PTA


It’s that time of year again: cold and damp outside and warm and stuffy inside. Before you know it, you are sniffling, aching and tired. All you want to do is go to sleep. Cold remedies can help.

Seite 1/1 3 Minuten

Seite 1/1 3 Minuten

To go to the local pharmacy and get nasal spray and paracetamol for example it’s normal in Germany. In other countries, it’s more likely that the customer will go home with an oral combination medication to alleviate the symptoms of the cold. There are so many different types of cold remedy available that it is a little difficult to find the right one. The combination is usually something to reduce swelling in the mucous membrane of the sinuses, and relieve the aches and any raised temperature with an analgesic.

Pharmacy customer: Good morning. Do you speak English?
PTA: Hello. Yes, I do. How may I help you?

I just know that I am coming down with a cold.
It seems to be doing the rounds I’m afraid. How long have you felt this way?

Since yesterday evening. I didn’t sleep well because of my runny nose.
I see. I think the first thing we need to do is get your nose free and reduce the inflammation in the nasal passages. We have this very effective nasal spray to help.

Nasal spray! Isn’t that just for allergies?
Well, there is also a nasal spray for pollen allergies, but that is not to be recommended when you have a cold. The active ingredients are completely different substances!

Oh, I didn’t know that.
What you need is something to relieve your breathing at night time so that you don’t get something called post nasal drip.

Oh, I have heard about that! That’s when the secretion in the nose goes down into your throat, isn’t it?
Yes. Not only that, it can get into the lungs and cause tickly coughs and even bronchitis.

Sorry, I’m not so sure that I want to use nasal spray. Can you recommend something else?
Do you have any problems with ibuprofen or ASS?

I get stomach problems from it.
I can recommend this one which is a combination of paracetamol and a medication to reduce swelling in the upper breathing passages. It’s direct medication in powder form, which helps it to act quickly and effectively.

Now, that sounds more like my thing!
Although it is effective, you shouldn’t take it longer than three days without consulting your doctor.

I’ll remember to do that.
It’s also important to get as much rest as possible and to drink plenty of fluids.

I’ll try! But I can’t guarantee anything!
Are you taking any other medication, such as anticoagulants, at the moment?

No, why?
We need to make sure because of the drug interaction between anticoagulants and this medication.

Okay. So, how often should I take this?
After the first sachet wait for four to six hours before the next. Because of the paracetamol not more than three sachets in 24 hours.

Okay, I’ll be careful not to. Thank you for your help.
You are welcome.

Goodbye and speedy recovery!


damp feucht
stuffy stickig
sniffling schniefend
aching schmerzend
cold remedies Erkältungsmittel
alleviate lindern, mildern
swelling Schwellung
mucous membrane Schleimhaut
sinuses Nebenhöhlen
relieve erleichtern
inflammation Entzündung
active ingredients Wirkstoffe
tickly coughs Reizhusten
breathing passages Atemwege
powder Pulver
consulting a doctor einen Arzt aufsuchen
plenty of fluids viel Flüssigkeiten
anticoagulants Gerinnungshemmer
speedy recovery schnelle Genesung

Den Artikel finden Sie auch in Die PTA IN DER APOTHEKE 11/14 auf Seite 26.

Catherine Croghan, Lecturer in English and native speaker