Lao Health Vocabulary: 19 Great Examples

Hey there, have you ever been unfortunate enough to have some health issues while traveling through a foreign country? I know I have! During my last visit to Laos, I got to know their hospitals pretty well. Let me tell you, it was quite an adventure!

I spent a whole month traveling through Laos, and for the first week, everything was going great. But then, one day, I started feeling a bit down, and my stomach started to ache. At first, I thought it was just a case of the “travel tummy,” but as the day progressed, the pain got worse and worse.

By the time night came, I felt like my whole insides were about to come out. I spent the next two days glued to my toilet, and let me tell you, we became great friends! But, as things were not getting better, I decided to bite the bullet and pay a visit to the hospital.

Now, I have to admit… I was a bit worried about how I was going to communicate with the doctors. My Lao was pretty limited, to say the least! But, lucky for me, during the time I spent in bed, I learned a few words that really helped me out. For example, I learned how to say “pain,” which in Lao is “ຕົວເລືອກ” (tou leuai). I also learned how to say “stomach,” which is “ຂາວ” (kaw). And, of course, I learned how to say “fever,” which is “ລັກສະນາ” (lak sa na).

So, if you’re planning a trip to the great Lao People’s Democratic Republic (or any foreign country, for that matter), I can recommend two things: First, having proper universal health coverage to give you financial protection in case of any trouble. And second, taking the time to learn some basic health-related vocabulary. Trust me, it could be the difference between a quick recovery and a prolonged illness.

Lao Health Vocabulary

Hopefully, my story inspired you to learn more, and you’re now ready to learn and absorb everything I have to teach you. Here is a list of some of the most important words about Health in Lao that you definitely should read and try to memorize before your next trip to this beautiful country.

EnglishLaoLao Script
Blood pressureKhuaam dan leuod
InjuryKan badchebການບາດເຈັບ
DiabetesPhanyad bao vanພະຍາດເບົາຫວານ
ToothacheCheb aekhvເຈັບແຂ້ວ
BruiseHony aetkຮອຍແຕກ
SunburnPhiv mai aeedຜິວໄໝ້ແດດ
Exercisek koa lang kaiອອກ​ກໍາ​ລັງ​ກາຍ​
DentistMo aekhvຫມໍແຂ້ວ
CrutchMai Khonໄມ້ຄ້ອນ
Bandagepha banbhadຜ້າພັນບາດ

Phrases For Health In Lao

We’ve explored some vocabulary about the Health services in Lao. Now, we should have a look at some common sentences that you might need to say or even hear if you ever visit a hospital in Laos.

  • Where is the hospital? – ໂຮງໝໍຢູ່ໃສ? (ohngmo yusai)
  • I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow. – ຂ້ອຍມີນັດພົບແພດມື້ອື່ນ (khonymi nadphob aephd muun)
  • I’m sorry I can’t go to work today, I have a big migraine. – ຂ້ອຍຂໍໂທດທີ່ຂ້ອຍບໍ່ສາມາດໄປເຮັດວຽກໄດ້ໃນມື້ນີ້, ຂ້ອຍມີອາການໄມເກຣນໃຫຍ່ (khony khoothdthi khony bosamad paiheduaiak dai naimuni  khony mioakan mai kern hainy)
  • I feel sick. – ຂ້ອຍ​ຮູ້​ສຶກ​ບໍ່​ສະ​ບາຍ (khony hu suk bo sa bai)
  • I have the flu. – ຂ້ອຍເປັນໄຂ້ຫວັດ (khony pen khaivad)
  • I need to see a doctor – ຂ້ອຍຈໍາເປັນຕ້ອງໄປພົບແພດ (khony choapentong paiphob aephd)
  • My back hurts – ເຈັບຫຼັງຂອງຂ້ອຍ (cheb rang khongkhony)
  • I have a fever – ຂ້ອຍເປັນໄຂ້ (khony penkhai)

Lao Healthcare

Laos has both private and public healthcare. However, in both forms, it is very limited. The only places where you could find care to match Western medicine would be in the big cities, mainly Vientiane.

It is also worth noting that many Lao people believe in traditional medicine, heavily influenced by the Chinese way of medical care. Lao is an animist tradition with a long history of spiritual healers. These are still popular in remote areas.

Anyone who has been to Laos will be shocked to see that the pharmacies are unregulated. So you can buy drugs that in the West that would require a doctor’s prescription. This can contribute to accidental overdose and lead to antibiotic resistance in the long run.

Lao Life Expectancy

Perhaps the most significant turnaround in the fortunes of the average Lao citizen has been the increase in life expectancy. In 1988, the average life expectancy was 49. A stunningly low figure if you consider that in Japan the same year that number was 78. The main reason for this was the atrocious amount of child deaths bringing the average down. The under-five mortality rate at the time was 180 per 1000. And even worse in rural areas with numbers as high as 350 per 1000. As of 2010, the number of deaths had been massively reduced to 580 per 100,000.

Lao Diseases

The main cause of death was the lack of sterile facilities in maternity wards, but the number of diseases endemic in the country was just as bad. Particularly big killers were malaria, respiratory infections, and diarrhea.

Malaria is and was a massive killer. Even in 2021, malaria was estimated to have killed 400,000 people globally. 

Things began to change in Laos in the 1950s. The mosquito killer DDT was sprayed over large parts of the country. The Lao jungle is an ideal breeding ground for the mosquito species that carry the parasite which causes malaria. Between 1975 and 1990, the health ministry reported a 10% drop in infected people. However, sometimes it can be difficult to believe these numbers because governments are not always honest about figures.

Lao health vocabulary

Nutrition In Laos

In Laos, it is well known that older people are generally shorter than younger people. This can be traced back directly to nutrition. It is only in recent years that large numbers of people weren’t at the risk of starvation.

Hospitals In Laos For Foreigners

Many tourists and ex-pats, particularly older ones, decide whether or not to visit Laos based on the quality of the hospitals in Vientiane. Most tourists begin in Vientiane, and it is centrally located if you find yourself in an accident elsewhere in the country.

It is advisable to avoid public hospitals and only go to international hospitals. Even then, many people still choose to go over the border to international hospitals in Thailand.

Lao health vocabulary

Learn Lao With Ling- The Best Lao Language App

I hope that provided you with a good taster of Lao culture and Lao vocabulary.

Sidenote: if you’re interested in a Lao phrasebook, check out Simply Learn.

If you want to learn Lao, the Ling App by Simya Solutions is the best free language app(there is also a premium version). We have fast and fun learning, everything from the business talk, important survival phrases to advanced conversation.

We believe in language equality. Just because a language is less spoken doesn’t mean mainstream apps should forget about it. In fact, we have over 60 other languages that are lesser spoken.

About our courses: they’re tailor-made by expert language professionals. Our Spaced repetition technique flashcards ensure that vocabulary in your head never becomes stale. It is reintroduced to you at timed intervals to keep building those neural pathways.

Our listening exercises are all recorded by native speakers, so you don’t miss out on the subtle nuances of pronunciation. Lao people can distinguish between those who’ve learned with a native speaker and those who haven’t.

We also have a writing function to practice original Lao writing. We aren’t going to lie to you; this is one of the most challenging aspects of learning Lao if you write and speak English natively. To the untrained eye, the script looks particularly alien. In our app, you can draw on your device’s screen, so you learn to form the letters.

We have a leaderboard that, in a few seconds, you can check your learning progress against other users, which encourages you to keep working hard and continuously improve. Of course, the gamification elements of our app also keep you coming back and taking the extra fun Lao language quizzes. Not forgetting our A.I. chatbot, which naturally and seamlessly allows you to practice your speaking skills through structured dialogues.

If you liked this blog, why not check out some previous entries, including Lao music vocabulary and useful words and phrases in Lao

Thanks for reading; come over and speak Lao quickly

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