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Chinese Lesson: Allergies
Spring is a wonderful season. The days are starting to get longer, and it starts to feel warmer. Birdsong reaches a peak during this season. Hibernating animals come out of their winter sleep and flowers bloom. Everything returns to a state of luscious green and vibrant colours, but, wait… it’s not all a bed of roses!
While discussing all the positive aspects of Spring there is one “minor” detail we forgot to mention which varies on the person. Allergic reactions!
Starting from allergies common in Spring, let’s learn how to talk about allergies in Chinese!
Allergies in Chinese:
The word for “allergic” and also “allergy” in Chinese is 过敏 (guòmǐn) so it can be both a noun and a verb.
If you want to say “I have a skin allergy” you would say “我有皮肤过敏” (Wǒ yǒu pífū guòmǐn).
However, if you want to say “I am allergic to something”, to dust, for example, you would say “我对灰尘过敏” (Wǒ duì huīchén guòmǐn).
Literally: “我 I + 对 to + 灰尘 dust + 过敏 allergic”.
So, if you want to say you are allergic to pollen in Chinese you’d say “我对花粉过敏” (Wǒ duì huāfěn guòmǐn). Pollen in Chinese is literally “flower powder” = 花 (huā) flower + 粉(fěn) powder.
Another common allergy typical of Springtime is “hay fever” (allergic rhinitis).
The nemesis of so many around the world! Hay Fever is characterized by a runny nose 流鼻涕 (liú bítì) 流 “to flow”+ 鼻涕 “nasal mucus”, sneezing 打喷嚏(dǎ pēntì), and stuffy nose 鼻塞 (bísè). “Hay fever” in Chinese is “花粉症” (huāfěn zhèng). The character 症 (zhèng) is used for any kind of disease or illness.
How to say “bless you” in Chinese:
During Chinese class when foreign students ask, teachers usually say that the Mandarin version of “Bless you” 一百岁 (Yībǎi suì) which literally means “one hundred years”, as to wish to the one who sneezed to live 100 years, cause, as we know sneezing cuts years off your life!
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