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抱恙在身

2019.03.22 刊於 信報

會務顧問 曾鈺成



前些時,在流感高峰期,很多人都會染病,要請病假。疾病最常見的說法是illness。形容詞ill是生病的意思,任何病痛,不論是大病或小病,都可叫illness:a small illness是小病,a serious illness是重病,a terminal illness是不治之症。


一、She died at the age of 60 after a brief illness.(她60歲時病了不久便離世。)


二、He showed no signs of illness.(他沒有任何生病的徵兆。)


與illness很接近的另一個常用字是sickness,同樣解作疾病。但sickness還有另一個特別的解法,指惡心,想嘔吐。


三、If you eat any more cake you'll make yourself sick.(你再吃蛋糕,就要嘔吐了。)


暈船叫seasickness,暈車叫carsickness,暈機叫airsickness;任何舟車暈浪,可叫travel-sickness或moving-sickness。


比較嚴重、並且有病徵的疾病,通常叫disease;傳染病叫infectious diseases,心臟病是heart disease。


四、Malaria is a tropical disease.(瘧疾是熱帶疾病。)


五、He suffers from a rare genetic disease.(他患了一種罕見的遺傳病。)


一些毛病例如頭暈、頭痛,可以叫做complaint;這個字一般解作投訴,亦可解作病痛。


六、Backache is a very common complaint.(背痛是很常見的疾病。)


Condition這個字,本來是指一種狀況,但也會用來表示病痛;聽起來或會委婉一點,不像illness或disease那樣直接。


七、He has a serious heart condition.(他患了嚴重的心臟病。)

以下這例子可說明condition和disease用法的分別:


八、The most common heart condition is coronary heart disease, caused when the heart's blood vessels become narrowed or blocked.(最常見的心臟病是冠心病,因心臟血管收窄或阻塞引致。)


如果是特別指身體某器官或功能不妥,可以說disorder。例如肝病/胃病可叫a liver/stomach disorder,飲食失調/消化不良可叫eating/digestive disorders。


傳染病叫infection,由細菌傳染的疾病叫bacterial infection,通過接觸傳染的疾病叫contagious infection。


九、Fever, cough, a runny nose and headache are common symptoms of throat infection.(發熱、咳嗽、流鼻水和頭痛,是咽喉發炎的常見病徵。)


讀小說會看到用malady這個字表示病痛。這字比較古老,現在已很少用。


十、He was told by his physicians that he had a fatal malady.(醫生說他患了致命的疾病。)


經常患的病痛,通常是較輕微的,可以叫ailment。


十一、She is always moaning about her ailment.(她常因小病呻吟。)


十二、The doctor treated him for a variety of ailments.(醫生給他治理各種常患的毛病。)


真正輕微的病痛,「微恙」,可叫indisposition。


十三、A brief indisposition made her miss the party.(她身體有點不適,錯過了那聚會。)


忽然發作的疾病例如中風、癲癇、心臟發作等,叫做seizure。


十四、He had a seizure that paralysed his right side.(他中了風,身體右邊癱瘓了。)


還有一個字syndrome,指綜合病症。例如Down's syndrome是唐氏綜合症;愛滋病AIDS,是Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome,「獲得性免疫缺損綜合症」的簡稱;2003年在香港爆發的「沙士」,SARS,是Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome,「嚴重急性呼吸系統綜合症」的簡稱。