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Thanks to a recent conversation on the Littlebearabroad Instagram account with our followers we realised that it was really tricky to figure out the Swedish name for some really common illnesses. Or, translate what they really meant. Imagine, Google translating the symptoms of ‘vinterkräksjuk’ in the middle of the night with a crying baby.

English wordSwedish wordDescription
Common coldFörkylningIt’s expected that the child
should remain off school
until the worst of the
symptoms are over.
Unfortunately, kids in
Sweden have a runny nose
from Sept – May so, good luck
with that. Go with your
gut instinct people! Apparently
kids have 12+ common
colds a year.
CoughHostaA cough with a cold or croup.
FeverFeberPretty obvious… get those rectal
thermometers at the ready!!
Eye infectionÖgoninflammationThis could be caused by a
number of things but often
it follows a cold.
Pink eye/conjunctivitis is
highly contagious and
outbreaks often happen
at förskola (sticky fingers).
Ear infection ÖroninflammationSmall ears, noses and throats
are susceptible to infections
in close quarters (förskola).
Stomach flu;
magsjuk eller
This word is derived from
two words – ‘mag’ which is
‘stomach’ and ‘sjuk’
which is ‘sickness’.
Highly contagious and rips
through a förskola in days.
In Sweden you might hear
reference to something called
‘vinterkräksjuk’. This is exactly
the same as Norovirus
or winter-vomiting bug.
It is sometimes called
Calicivirus in Sweden, too.
ChickenpoxVattkopporDoes what it says on the tin…
Scarlet FeverScharlakansfeberIt’s a bacterial infection
that is caused by Strep A.
Head liceLössGet the nit comb at the
ready! No hat swapping.
Springmask**warning** over the counter
treatment for this is often
difficult to get your hands
on in Sweden. You could
try getting it from a doctor
but my advice would be to
get it sent to you from a
relative abroad. Stock up
from home.
ScabiesSkabbMicroscopic parasite that
burrows and lays eggs
under the skin causing
an itchy allergic reaction.
Hand, foot
and mouth
HöstblåserViral infection
Water wartsMolluskeryeuch…
TonsillitisHalsflussDepending on the number
of times a child gets this you
can request to have tonsils
removed if it is recurrent
and impacting the child’s
overall health.
RubellaRöda hundCommonly prevented by
the immunisation received
in the Swedish child vaccination
programme. But… it’s BACK!?
<eye roll>
Ring wormRingormyeuch…
MonoKörtelfeberNo kissing…please
Slap-cheekFemte sjukanNo idea why it’s called
Femte sjukan… but,
it’s slapcheek.
MeaslesMässlingFor a time Measles was
non-existent. And then some
idiot told a big fat fib and now
it’s on the rise due to idiots not
getting their kids vaccinated.
Whooping coughKikhostaSomeone once told me
they weren’t getting their
kid vaccinated against
whooping cough because
it didn’t exist anymore…
yeah… VACCINES <eye roll>
WartsVårtorLike the ones you get at
the swimming baths.