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At the pharmacy | English Lesson | Vocabulary | Elementary

Updated: Dec 26, 2022

Hello Fearless Learners. Today we are at the pharmacy. I'm going to be going through a few sentences, phrases, and vocabulary that you might need to use when you're at the pharmacy. I'm also going to be going through some essential things that you might need to buy at the pharmacy. Now, if there are any that I've missed in today's lesson, please feel free to add them in the comments below. Let's get started.

Common questions you'll be asked

When you walk into a pharmacy, the most likely question you're going to get is "How can I help you?" and "Do you have a prescription?"

Your answer is going to be, "Yes, I'm picking up my prescription." So, where it says "my," you can say "my mom's prescription," "my dad's prescription." So, you can pick up a prescription for someone else or it could be for yourself. In this case, I put "I'm picking up my prescription." Just as a side note, I'm giving you examples from the UK from the place I live, and this is how pharmacies work.

Over-the-counter medicine

After saying "hi" or "hello," you'll be asked if you have a prescription or you could just come in and say "I'm looking for cough medicine." If you are looking for something that's not prescribed, the word "prescription" is a noun and "prescribe" is a verb. So, if someone is going to prescribe a specific type of medicine, it would be the doctor. If the doctor didn't prescribe a specific type of medicine, you would say "I'm looking for over-the-counter cough medicine," for example.

Remember, certain medicines can only be prescribed. You can't just come into the pharmacy and ask for certain medicines because a doctor has to prescribe the medicine for you. So, what you would say is "Could I have over-the-counter cough medicine?"

Refilling a prescription

I don't know what symptoms you have that you want to get rid of or if you know a problem or illness that you might have. Another way to answer is "I have to refill my prescription," which means when the doctor has already prescribed a specific medicine and you've run out. So, "run out" means you no longer have that medicine, you've finished it, right? So, you're going to the pharmacy to get more. You say to them, "I have to refill," which means you need more of that medicine.

Now, if the doctor has only given you a specific type a specific number of times, the pharmacist has to check that you are able to take that medicine again. So, they do their checks on the computer and so on, and then they'll give you a refill.

Alternative medicine

Let's say the pharmacist has run out of a specific thing, a specific medicine, a specific type of medicine that you always get. Let's say you're coming for a refill and that specific medicine has run out. This means the pharmacy needs a new order and they no longer have it at the pharmacy. So, what they could say to you is "I'm sorry, we're temporarily out of that antibiotic," Temporarily means it's for only a short period of time. Maybe tomorrow or the next day, they might get it. So, they could answer that and then you could ask for a different brand. At this point, you could say "Is there an alternative medicine that I can have? Is there another brand?"

This situation could go two ways. They could have a different brand that they can give you, but let's say they had a different brand and it was a little bit expensive. And since you pay for your medicine, it's a little bit pricey, a little bit out of your budget. So, what you could say is "Is there a generic brand?" A generic brand means that it's not a fancy brand, so usually they're much cheaper. Let's say Tesco's for example. If you look for Tesco generic brands, it's Tesco value products for medicine. Generic brands are brands that don't have fancy designs on them, and they're very simple and low cost. So, it usually is exactly the same quality. So, you can say "Could I have the generic brand of that cough medicine?" for example.

Instructions and side effects

The last point is once they give you the medicine, they could say something like "Take these three times a day" or "Take these three times after a meal" or "Don't take these on an empty stomach," which means don't take it when you haven't eaten anything. For example, when you first wake up in the morning, you have an empty stomach, so don't take that medicine when your stomach is empty. Take them with a meal.

Make sure to listen to the instructions properly when they give you the medicine, or get them to write it down because I always miss it. Take these three times a day, take this with a meal. Another thing I didn't add on the screen is, you could ask "Do these tablets have side effects?" Side effects means does it make you feel sick, do you get a headache. Do I need to make sure that I know what's going to happen when I take the medicine, and you know what's normal. Basically, I always ask "Are there any side effects?" and the doctor will explain to you if there are any side effects. Or they'll just direct you to read it on the leaflet and then you can read what the most common side effects are for the drug or medicine that you're taking.

Bonus words

Okay, Fearless Learners. So today, I'm going to be running this video a little bit longer than usual, so I'm just going to quickly go through some things that you might buy at the pharmacy. The first one is a comb. Then you have a hairbrush. Then you have shampoo and conditioner. Then you have deodorant. Then you have shaving cream, foam, or gel. There are different kinds, so this is what you apply to your face, legs, or underarms before you shave. The next one is razor. And the last one, for our female listeners, is sanitary towels.

Alright, Fearless Learners, there you go. I hope you enjoyed this lesson. If you liked it, please share it with your friends, and I'll see you in the next lesson. Thank you so much. Bye.


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