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WORD! A Glossary of Medical Words

Word! Index

  • Abdominals
  • Abrasion
  • ADHD
  • Allergist
  • Allergy
  • Amputate
  • Anemia
  • Anesthesia
  • Antibiotic
  • Arteries and Veins
  • Asthma
  • Asthma Attack
  • Bacteria
  • Biopsy
  • Blood Pressure
  • Blood Type
  • Bone Marrow
  • Bronchoconstriction
  • Bruise
  • Caries
  • Cartilage
  • Cast
  • CAT Scan
  • Complete Blood Count (CBC)
  • Cerebellum
  • Chemotherapy
  • Chronic
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Contagious
  • Dehydration
  • Diagnosis
  • Diaphragm
  • Diarrhea
  • Dislocation
  • Dyslexia
  • Eczema
  • EEG (electroencephalogram)
  • Enamel
  • Endocrinologist
  • Enuresis
  • Epidermis
  • Epiglottis
  • ER
  • Eustachian tube
  • Farsighted
  • Fever
  • Filiform papillae
  • Fluoride
  • Fracture
  • Frenulum
  • Frostbite
  • Gastric juices
  • Genetics
  • Gingivitis
  • Gluteus Maximus
  • Gurney
  • Hay Fever
  • Heat exhaustion
  • Hormone
  • ICU
  • Immunizations
  • Immunotherapy and Allergy Shots
  • Infection
  • Influenza
  • Inhale
  • Inhaler
  • Intensive Care
  • Involuntary muscle
  • Iris
  • IV
  • Joints
  • Keratin
  • Lacrimal glands
  • Laparoscopy
  • Lymph Node
  • Malocclusion
  • Melanin
  • Microscope
  • Mucus
  • Nausea
  • Navel
  • Nearsighted
  • Nebulizer
  • Nervous System
  • Neurologist
  • Nicotine
  • Nits
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Oncologist
  • Operation and Surgery
  • Palate
  • Pappilae
  • Peak Flow Meter
  • Perspiration
  • Physical Therapist
  • Pimple
  • Pinna
  • Platelets
  • Pneumonia
  • Prosthesis
  • Puberty
  • Pulmonary
  • Pulmonologist
  • Pulse
  • Radiologist
  • Red Blood Cells
  • Rheumatologist
  • Rx
  • Saliva
  • Scoliosis
  • Sebum
  • Seizure
  • Skin Test
  • STAT
  • Stethoscope
  • Strep Screen
  • Symptoms
  • Tinnitus
  • Tonsillectomy
  • Umbilical cord
  • Urinalysis
  • Urticaria
  • Varicella zoster
  • Veins and Arteries
  • Virus
  • Wheeze
  • White Blood Cells
  • X-Ray
  • Yawn

  • Abdominals

    Say: ab-dom-in-uls

    Sometimes also known as the abs, these are the muscles in front of your abdomen, the area below your chest and above your belly button. Try some rowing for awesome abs!


    Abrasion

    Say: uh-bray-shun

    Ever get an abrasion from falling off a bike or swing? Sure you have! An abrasion is the fancy word for when skin gets rubbed away, leaving an open cut or scratch.


    AD/HD

    Short for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, this is a behavior disorder that some kids have where they are hyperactive and have difficulty paying attention. In fact, 1 in 20 kids have ADHD - about one kid in every class.


    Allergist

    Say: al-er-jist

    Allergists are special doctors that help you when you're allergic to things like animals, grasses, pollens, dust, and even foods. They can sometimes give you medicine or shots to help you feel better when allergies are bothering you.


    Allergy

    Say: al-er-jee

    ACHOOO! An allergy! Some kids have allergies, which means that their bodies act funny after they touch animals, get a bug bite, eat certain foods, or run into other everyday things that trigger their allergies. Allergies can not only make your eyes watery and nose run, they can also make your skin itchy and bumpy, your throat and ears sore, and your tummy ache. They can even give you diarrhea . . . gross! But don't worry. If you have an allergy, you can go to a special doctor called an allergist who will make sure that you feel better again!


    Amputate

    When someone has an operation where doctors cut off a body part, they say they amputate that part. Some parts that might get amputated are a finger, a foot, or a leg.


    Anemia

    Say: uh-nee-mee-uh

    The name for a group of blood diseases caused by problems with red blood cells (also called "low blood count"). Most times, anemia happens in kids because they don't have enough iron.


    Anesthesia

    Say: ah-ness-the-sya

    No, it's not the name of a princess in a Disney movie, even though it may sound like one! Anesthesia is actually medicine that doctors give kids to make them feel comfortable when they're having surgery, stitches, or other things that might cause pain. Anesthesia is cool because it helps kids fall asleep for a little bit so the doctors can fix something. A doctor can give you anesthesia with a shot or by letting you breathe a special kind of air. You might feel kind of funny when this happens, but don't worry, it won't hurt, and you'll be back to normal in no time!


    Antibiotic

    Say: ant-eye-bye-ot-ik

    Hooray for antibiotics! These medicines don't hurt you, but they do attack the bacteria and germs inside your body that are making you sick. And you guessed it - they're sometimes made from ugly, fuzzy mold (penicilin comes from orange mold)! So, if you have an ear infection, strep throat, or some other infection, don't worry, because antibiotics are here to save the day!


    Arteries and Veins

    Say: ar-ta-reez and vayns

    Your blood goes through tubes in your body called blood vessels. Arteries and veins are types of blood vessels that bring blood to and from your heart. They're all over your body (inside, of course!), and you can tell the difference between these two because arteries are usually red and veins are usually blue. If you ever look closely at your skin, sometimes you might see a bluish-colored line. That's a vein!


    Asthma

    Say: as-muh

    Asthma is when someone has trouble breathing because his airways have gotten irritated by something he breathed in. With asthma, airways swell and narrow, making it harder to breath. Lots of things like fur, perfume, or smoke can cause this to happen. Of course, breathing is really important, so someone who has asthma may need to see a doctor regularly and even carry special medicine to help them breathe easier.


    Asthma Attack

    Say: as-muh

    An asthma attack is when a person who has asthma suddenly can't breathe very well because his or her airways have gotten irritated by something breathed in. Asthma causes airways to swell and narrow, making it harder to breath in and out. Lots of things, called asthma triggers, can cause this to happen, including animal fur, perfume, cold air, or smoke. Asthma attacks can happen very suddenly, so it's important that people with asthma see a doctor regularly, stay away from their asthma triggers, and maybe even carry around special medicine their doctor prescribes to help them breathe easily again!


    Bacteria

    Say: back-teer-ee-uh

    If you're feeling crummy, it's probably because nasty bacteria or some other kind of germ has gotten into your body and made you sick. Bacteria are so tiny you can't see them with your eyes, but there are thousands . . . millions . . . and even billions of them all over you, inside and out! Even though this might sound kind of gross, there are lots of good bacteria that help out our bodies. The bad bacteria make us sick. So the next time you get an ear infection or a sore throat, you know who the culprit might be . . . bacteria!!


    Biopsy

    Say: by-op-see

    Sometimes, when doctors think that something that's not quite right in your body, they might decide to do something called a biopsy. This means they take out a teensy, tiny piece of a part of your body and look at it under a microscope and do tests on it. The biopsy gives doctors a closer look at what's really going on inside you before they give you medicine or an operation. It's kind of like finding out what's really in that cafeteria food before you actually eat it! Hmmm . . . now that's some food for thought!


    Blood Pressure

    Say: blud presh-ur

    Check your blood pressure! When you go to the doctor, he or she sometimes puts an arm band on you and pushes air into it, blowing the arm band up like a balloon.Your arm might feel a little tingly, but don't worry, the doctor's just taking your blood pressure. This test will help her figure out how hard your heart is pumping to move blood all over your body, and if your blood pressure is too high or too low.


    Blood Type

    Say: blud type

    There are four major blood types, each with a different type of chemical marker that's attached to your red blood cells. The markers determine if we have type A blood, type B blood, type O blood, and type AB. Each type can also be positive (+) or negative (-) - just to make things a little more complicated! It's important that a doctor know which blood type you have if you're going to have surgery, just in case the doctor needs to give you some extra blood.


    Bone Marrow

    Say: mar-roh

    Bone marrow! Bone marrow is kind of like jelly except it's thicker. It helps make all kinds of blood cells (like "killer T cells" - isn't that a cool name?) that help your body fight off germs, and it also transports important stuff like oxygen to the rest of your body - even your toes!


    Bronchoconstriction

    Say: bron-co-con-strick-chun

    Even though this sounds like a cross between a dinosaur and a snake, bronchoconstriction has nothing to do with dinosaurs or snakes . . . unless maybe you're being squeezed by one! Bronchoconstriction is actually what happens when the muscles lining your breathing tubes tighten up and get narrow, making it hard to breathe in and out. Bronchoconstriction happens to people who have a medical condition called asthma. The good news is, there are lots of asthma medicines that help to relax the muscles lining your airways - so you can usually breathe easy again.


    Bruise

    Say: brooze

    When you accidentally bang a part of your body against something else, sometimes your skin starts turning different colors. That splotch of purple, green, blue, and black is called a bruise, and it's caused by broken blood vessels, or tubes, that contain your blood. Since you didn't cut yourself, the blood from the damaged blood vessels can't come out and instead gets trapped under your skin! But don't worry - even though it may sound icky, your amazing body will make the bruise disappear in no time!


    Caries

    Say: kare-eez

    Better brush to keep those caries away - it's another word for cavities! Caries come around when teeth start to decay, or break down.


    Cartilage

    Say: car-till-udge

    Mushy and bendy, not hard like bone, but squishy like rubber . . . must be cartilage, a flexible material in some parts of your body. Grab the end of your nose or your ear and you've found some!


    Cast

    Say: kast

    If you ever break a bone, you'll probably need something called a cast to keep all the pieces of bone from moving around while it's healing. Casts can be made out of plaster, fiberglass, or even plastic and air (called an "air cast"). They wrap around the broken area, and you need to keep the cast away from water the whole time it's on. Even though a cast may look and feel a little clumsy, it'll help you feel better and let your broken bones grow back together again. After you're all better, the doctor will take the cast off - which doesn't hurt at all!


    CT Scan

    Say: cat skan

    Actually, CT scans have nothing to do with cats . . . except that when people talk about them, they usually say "cat scans" instead of "CT scans." CT scans are kind of like X-rays except they give doctors much better pictures of the insides of your body - not just your bones. Cool, huh? These pictures help doctors figure out if everything's alright inside your body and what they can do to help you. And even better, CT scans don't hurt at all!


    Complete Blood Count (CBC)

    Say: com-pleet blud cownt

    Blood is made up of things called red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Red blood cells are like trucks zooming on the "blood vessel highway" in your body, carrying oxygen to the rest of your body. White blood cells are the warriors of the blood, defending your body against germs trying to make you sick. Finally, platelets are like fabric weavers because when you get a cut, platelets weave a "web" over it that becomes a protective scab. This scab prevents more germs from getting in and infecting the cut. Doctors sometimes do blood tests to count how many of each type of blood cells you have.


    Cerebellum

    Say: ser-eh-bell-um

    Yo-yoing, walking, playing soccer - you couldn't do any of it without this small but powerful part of the brain that controls balance, coordination, and movement. It is way in the back, down low and near the spinal cord.


    Chemotherapy

    Say: kee-moe-ther-ah-pee

    This is the word that describes the use of anti-cancer medicines to treat cancer. It is very powerful and is often used to treat cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.


    Chronic

    Say: krah-nik

    This word refers to an illness that a person has for a long time, or an illness that goes away and keeps coming back. Diabetes and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis are examples of chronic illnesses.


    Conjunctivitis

    Say: con-junk-tiv-i-tis

    Your eye's looking pink and not so pretty? Sounds like conjunctivitis, the word for when the conjunctiva, the covering of the eye, gets infected.


    Contagious

    Say: ken-tay-jess

    Cover that mouth of yours! When a sickness is contagious it means that one person can catch it from another. Some contagious sicknesses that kids get are colds, flu, and chicken pox.


    Dehydration

    Say: dee-hi-dray-shun

    Don't sweat this long word! It describes what happens when there's not enough water in your body. Be sure to drink lots of water to stay hydrated and happy.


    Diagnosis

    Say: di-ag-no-sis

    The word "diagnosis" is just a fancy name for telling you what's making you sick. After you are "diagnosed" with something, then doctors can treat you with medicine and other things to help you get better!


    Diaphragm

    Say: die-uh-fram

    Ever get the hiccups? Don't worry - it's just your diaphragm doing something unusual! When this dome-shaped muscle under the lungs gets irritated, it forces the air out of your lungs in a funny way. Hic!


    Diarrhea

    Say: die-uh-ree-uh

    If you've ever had a bad time in the bathroom, then you know what this is. It's when there is too much water in your bowels and it makes them runny and watery.


    Dislocation

    Say: dis-low-cay-shun

    We all have places on our bodies that bend, like elbows and knees. These bend-y places are called joints. Sometimes, when a bone get pulled out of its joint because of a fall or other accident, it's called a dislocation. To fix it, a doctor has to put the bone back into the joint and let it heal.


    Dyslexia

    Say: dis-lex-ee-uh

    Wha tifev eryth inglo ooked lik ethis whe nyo utrie dtoread ? Dyslexia refers to a learning problem some kids have with reading and writing where words can look jumbled or even reversed.


    Eczema

    Say: eggs-eh-ma

    If you've ever had your skin get very itchy and dry, you know what eczema is! And no, it doesn't have anything to do with eggs . . . unless you're allergic to them, because eczema is sometimes caused by allergies or hay fever.


    Enamel

    Say: eh-nah-mull

    Say cheese and show off your enamel, please! Enamel is the hardest substance in your whole body, and it covers and protects your teeth by providing a tough barrier.


    Endocrinologist

    Say: en-deh-kri-nah-leh-jist

    The name for the type of doctor who deals with hormones, special body chemicals that make things happen all over the body. Endocrinologists help kids with diabetes, growth problems, and more.


    Enuresis

    Say: en-yer-ee-sis

    Not very many kids talk about it, but a lot of kids do it: enuresis is the fancy name for wetting the bed while sleeping.


    Epidermis

    Say: eh-pih-dur-miss

    Look out - your epidermis is showing! But it's OK; epidermis is the fancy name for the outermost layer of your skin.


    Epiglottis

    Say: eh-pih-glot-iss

    This body part is super for swallowing - it's the piece that flops down over your windpipe when you swallow to keep food or liquids from going down the wrong way.


    EEG (electroencephalogram)

    Say: uh-lec-tro-en-sef-a-la-gram

    Doctors can see inside your brain with a special machine that makes an electroencephalogram, or brain wave picture. Believe it or not, no matter what you're doing (even sleeping!), your brain gives off electric waves. An electroencephalogram machine measures these electricity waves and takes a picture of them to show where and how big they are. Pretty neat, huh? Some kids have a lot of extra electricity flowing inside their brain, which can cause things called seizures. But getting an electroencephalogram is no big deal; it doesn't hurt, and imagine the cool brain waves you'll be able to see when you're done!


    ER

    Short for "emergency room," this is the part of the hospital where kids go when there is some kind of big and unexpected health problem or accident.


    Eustachian Tube

    Say: yoo-stay-shun

    This is one top tube! It runs between the inside of the ear and the throat and is responsible for making sure the pressure is the same on either side of the eardrum.


    Farsighted

    Say: far-seye-tid

    If it's easy for you to see things far away, but it's harder to see things that are up close, then you might be farsighted. Lots of kids who have trouble reading books are farsighted. Being farsighted is the opposite of being nearsighted (able to see things up close). But don't worry about being farsighted because all you have to do is get some cool new glasses that will not only help you see things close up, but also look very cool.


    Fever

    Say: fee-ver

    You've probably noticed that sometimes when you're sick, you feel funny . . . like it's really hot one minute and then freezing cold the next. And to make things weirder, grown-ups keep touching your face and forehead all the time. Well, when this happens, chances are, you have a fever. A fever is when your body gets a little hotter than normal on the inside, even though you might not feel like it. This might mean that your body has just been invaded! When germs get inside your body, the temperature rises, because it's your body's way of trying to get rid of them. So don't get all hotheaded when you get a fever - it just means your body's trying to get better again!


    Filiform Papillae

    Say: fill-ee-form pap-ill-ee

    These help keep everything in good taste! They're the tiny bumps on the back of the tongue that contain your taste buds, so you can taste everything from fries to fresh strawberries.


    Fluoride

    Say: flore-ide

    The fantastic mineral that keeps your teeth feeling strong and looking super! Brush 'em with toothpaste that contains fluoride to keep that stupendous smile of yours.


    Fracture

    Say: frak-chur

    When a bone breaks, it's called a fracture. If you ever hurt yourself and think you might have a fracture, don't move! Wait until someone comes to help you because fractures only get worse when they're moved around. Usually, doctors put a cast around the fracture to protect the area and help it heal.


    Frenulum

    Say: fren-yuh-lum

    Ever wonder how you keep from swallowing your tongue? It's because you've got a friend in your frenulum - the piece that attaches your tongue to the bottom of your mouth.


    Frostbite

    Brrrrr . . . pass the earmuffs and mittens, please! Frostbite is what happens when skin is exposed to cold temperatures and it freezes.


    Gastric Juices

    Say: gas-trick

    Not like any juice you've ever seen . . . these juices are in the stomach, and they begin to break down food after you've swallowed it so it can be digested.

    Genetics
    Did you ever hear someone say, "It runs in our family?" What they are really saying is that this trait (red hair, being tall) is in their genes. These genes are like a special code that is carried on DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) inside the cells of the body. Your body has special decoders to "read" the genes on the DNA and determine which traits you will get from your parents and which traits are going to come from a rearranged version of your genes. So you might end up seeming to have the same color hair as your mom but getting your dad's nose. Most of the time, your traits are a complex combination of your parents' traits.

    Gingivitis

    Say: jin-ji-vie-tis

    Got gums? Then you've got to protect them against gingivitis, the word for gum disease. Brush and floss to keep those gums feeling fine!

    Gluteus Maximus

    Say: glue-tee-us max-ih-muss

    You don't have to look too far for this body part - you're sitting on it! This is the fancy name for the muscles that are under the skin and fat in your rear end.

    Gurney

    Say: ger-nee

    Gurneys are a kind of hospital bed with wheels that make it easy to move patients around. Gurneys can get you to all sorts of places in a hospital - especially from an operating room to your sleeping room. When you're on a gurney, someone will push it around for you, so just lay back and relax!


    Hay Fever

    Say: hay fee-ver

    Hay fever! No, hay fever's not when a horse is sick in bed. It's the name of a type of allergy that people have to natural things like pollen or ragweed from plants and flowers. And if you get hayfever, you don't really get a fever either . . . just a runny, red, itchy nose from sneezing all the time! So next time you go outside and start sneezing a zillion times in a row, you know what's to blame . . . hay fever! How's that for a name?


    Heat Exhaustion

    Super hot in summer? Be careful to watch out for this - it's the name for when the heart and circulatory system aren't able to cool the body down. Hit the shade and drink up!

    Hormone

    Say: hor-moan

    Hormones! Hormones are special chemicals that your body makes to tell it to do certain things - like grow up! Hormones are very important when you start to go through puberty, which is when you suddenly start growing and developing into an adult. During this time, you're loaded with hormones that tell your body that it's time to get a move-on. Ready, set, grow!


    ICU

    Short for Intensive Care Unit, this is a place in the hospital where people can recover from a very serious illness, accident, or operation. In the ICU, a patient can get extra help from machines and extra attention from people.

    Immunizations

    Say: ih-myeh-new-zay-shen

    The long word for what most kids know as shots. Even though getting immunizations at the doctor's office isn't super-fun, they are super-important because they help protect you against diseases.

    Immunotherapy and Allergy Shots

    Say: im-you-no-thair-a-pee and al-er-jee shots

    Imagine if you got sneezes and tummy aches all the time because you were allergic to something, and finally you decided you couldn't take it anymore and told your body to stop being allergic . . . and poof! . . . it stopped! Well, doctors kind of do the same thing when they give you allergy shots (also called immunotherapy). The shots gradually help your body not to be allergic to something anymore. Usually, though, you need to get shots for months or sometimes years to get rid of your allergies - but it's worth it because you'll never be allergic again! It's almost like magic!


    Infection

    Say: in-fect-shun

    When germs get inside your body, they can make copies of themselves inside your body and cause an infection. Your body's immune system needs to fight them off with special cells like killer T cells. It can become a full-launched fight against the nasty invaders - and you won't feel better until your body's won the fight! Just about every time you get sick, it's because you have some kind of infection. What a bummer! If your body is having a little trouble fighting by itself, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic to help, so just lay back, relax, and get some rest!


    Influenza

    Say: in-floo-en-za

    Feeling suddenly feverish, achy, and crummy all over? Sounds like influenza's in your body - the full name for the flu!


    Inhale

    You're doing it now . . . and now . . . and now . . . and now! Breathing in, or inhaling, that is. You need to inhale air into your lungs to keep every cell in your body alive.


    Inhaler

    Say: in-hail-er

    If you think that an inhaler is something that helps someone having an asthma attack breathe easier, then you're right on! Someone with asthma has breathing tubes that get easily irritated from stuff that's in the air (like smoke or pollen). When the breathing tubes get irritated, they swell up and the muscles lining the tubes tighten up, making it very hard to breathe. Doctors give people with asthma an inhaler (also called a "puffer") that sprays a special kind of medicine into their breathing tubes. The medicine usually helps the muscles relax so that the person can breathe easy again.


    Intensive Care

    Say: in-ten-siv

    Intensive care is a special place inside a hospital for people who have just had a big surgery or are really sick. Here, lots of doctors and nurses watch over the person day and night, giving them lots of extra attention and care until they're feeling better. There's also lots of cool equipment with blinking lights and sounds - this equipment helps the doctors and nurses measure important stuff like the sick person's heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature. Once a person's feeling better, they get moved to a regular hospital room where they can continue to rest and get better.


    Involuntary Muscle

    You don't have any say over what this kind of muscle does and when . . . it just does its thing! Some places you've got involuntary muscles are your eyes, stomach, and intestines. It takes guts to be an involuntary muscle!


    Iris

    Say: eye-riss

    When someone says you have pretty eyes, they really mean you have pretty irises! Your iris is the colorful ring in your eye.


    IV

    You can get food and drink through your veins! Kind of weird, huh? Sometimes, when a person has surgery or is very sick, doctors and nurses don't want to wake that person up to have them eat and drink. Instead, they put an IV - an ultra-thin needle that they can't even feel - into their vein so that food (actually, sugar and salts), medicine, and water can get into their body while they sleep. It could be that the person's too busy getting better to eat and drink by himself, or is too tired. Whatever the reason may be, an IV will gradually drip important stuff into the person's body to help him get better again!


    Joints

    Joints are the places in your body where bones meet. You've got big joints - like the ones in your hips, shoulders, and legs - and itty, bitty ones, like the ones in your hands and feet.


    Keratin

    Say: kerr-uh-tin

    Now hair this! This is the hard protein that hair is made of, whether you've got straight red hair, blond curly locks, or a black spiky 'do.


    Lacrimal Glands

    Say: lac-rim-ul

    Boo hoo hoo, crying is what these parts help you do. These tiny glands above the outer corner of each eye are what turn on the waterworks and make tears.


    Laparoscopy

    Say: lap-a-ross-co-pee

    Laparoscopy sounds a little scary at first, but it's actually pretty cool. It's a special kind of surgery that uses a camera to look inside your body! What happens during laparoscopy? First, doctors make a tiny cut on your body while you're under anesthesia (so that you fall asleep and can't feel anything). Then they place a really thin tube inside you with a teeny camera attached to it (it's really small!), and when they find what's making you sick, they fix it. Using this kind of surgery, doctors can fix things better, you can heal faster, and you get only a tiny cut that will heal and nearly disappear in no time!


    Lymph Node

    Say: limf

    Your wonderful lymph nodes! Lymph is a really thick liquid that flows through your body, cleaning up and getting rid of germs. Lymph nodes act like check points because when the lymph flows through the nodes, they take out all the germs and things that could harm you before letting the lymph flow further. Sometimes, these germs can cause the lymph node to swell, which is what you feel on your neck when you have a sore throat. But don't worry because the lump usually just means your body is cleaning up its act!


    Malocclusion

    Say: ma-loh-clue-shun

    This word comes from Latin and means "bad bite!" But it's really just a word that dentists use to describe the shape of your mouth and the way it closes.


    Melanin

    Say: mel-uh-nin

    Ever wonder where your skin gets its color? It comes from the magic 'm' word: melanin! This natural pigment is what gives your skin its special hue. The darker your skin is, the more melanin you have.


    Microscope

    Say: my-crow-scope

    All over your body, and nearly everything else in the world, are millions and billions of bacteria and other tiny living things that are so small, you can't even see them with your normal eyes. But with a microscope you can see them, because a microscope makes tiny things a whole lot bigger for you - kind of like a super-duper magnifying glass. Doctors use microscopes to see what kinds of bacteria or germs are in you and making you sick. They can take a sample of germs from under your fingernails or anywhere else and see what's going on!


    Mucus

    Say: mew-cuss

    You've got mucus! It'snot so special - it's what's inside your nose to help protect your lungs from dust, dirt, and other junk you breathe in. It's so sticky and gooey, the bad stuff you accidentally breathe in sticks to it and can't get any further! Here's another fact: our noses make about a cupful of this slimy snot every day! How gross!


    Nausea

    Say: naw-zee-uh

    "Ooh, I'm sick to my stomach!" is another way of putting it - nausea is the feeling you get before you're going to puke.


    Navel

    No doubt about it, every person in the whole world has one - a belly button! Is yours an innie or an outtie?


    Nearsighted

    Say: neer-seye-tid

    You might be nearsighted if you have trouble seeing things that are far away. It's probably because the lenses in your eyes are shaped a little differently and distorting things a bit. But don't worry, it's nothing a pair a glasses won't fix!


    Nebulizer

    Say: neb-you-lies-er

    A nebulizer isn't really a space gun, but it kind of acts like one because it turns liquid medicine into a gas that you can breathe in through your airways. So instead of tasting your medicine, you get to breathe it in! Lots of kids with asthma use a nebulizer to help them breathe easier. Awesome!


    Nervous System

    Say: ner-vuss

    Let's give a round of applause to your nervous system! This system is made up of your brain and all the nerves connecting to it. Together, they act like a super-fast, two-way message highway that helps you tell your body what to do and even move, think, and feel. For example, when you touch something really hot, your nervous system sends a message from your fingers to your brain, saying, "You're touching something really hot!" Then another message comes from your brain back to your fingers, telling them to "Pull back!" All of this communicating happens in a split second, saving you from burning your fingers badly. Your nervous system also lets you feel the soft fur of a puppy, button your shirt, and taste yummy foods. It lets you run and kick a soccer ball and feel good after you score the winning goal! Think of the millions of jobs that the nervous system does for you!


    Neurologist

    Say: ner-all-o-jist

    If you think a neurologist is a doctor who studies your nervous system and helps to fix it when it's broken . . . congratulations! You're right! The nervous system helps you move, think, and feel. Neurologists might help a person who has hurt his back, has trouble moving their arms or legs, or someone who has epilepsy.


    Nicotine

    Say: nih-keh-teen

    This chemical is found in stinky cigarettes and is the reason why kids get hooked on the smoking habit. Say no to nicotine - it's nasty!


    Nits

    If you're like a lot of kids, you've had some nasty nits. These are the eggs that lice lay in your hair when your head becomes the house to a louse. No good nits!


    Occupational Therapist

    Say: oc-you-pay-chun-all thair-a-pist

    Sometimes, after an operation, accident, or sickness, it's hard to go back to doing things that you used to do. Things like moving your hands, buttoning your shirt, or thinking clearly can be kind of hard, so an occupational therapist gives you exercises that help you to remember how to do these things. Games, activities, and exercises are all things that an occupational therapist uses to help you get back into shape - and be your old self again!


    Oncologist

    Say: on-kol-ah-jist

    This is a doctor who treats patients with cancer. Oncologists who treat kids who have cancer are pediatric oncologists.


    Operation and Surgery

    Say: op-er-a-chun and sur-jer-ee

    You've probably played the game Operation with your friends and family, but when someone you care about is getting a real operation, it can seem kind of scary. An operation is also called surgery, and it's when doctors need to get inside your body to fix something to make you feel better. They make a small cut in the skin right where the problem is, go inside and fix the problem, and then stitch the skin up so that it's good as new! The person getting surgery is usually under anesthesia, so they are asleep and can't feel anything (though they may be achy for a while after they wake up!). The good part about surgery is that it usually means that you're on the road to feeling better again!


    Palate

    Say: pal-it

    You've probably tickled this part with your tongue before - it's the fancy name for the roof of your mouth.


    Pappilae

    Say: pap-ill-ee

    Pappilae are the little white bumps on the top of your tongue that help your teeth mush up your food. And they're special because they contain your taste buds, the things that help you to taste everything from sour lemons to sweet peaches - and tell them apart. Yummy!


    Peak Flow Meter

    Say: peek flo meet-er

    Lots of kids who have asthma use a peak flow meter to measure how quickly air comes out of their lungs. By understanding how well they're able to breathe air out, doctors can treat their asthma with medicine and other things that help them breathe easier.


    Perspiration

    Say: per-spuh-ray-shun

    Perspiration is another name for sweat; the stuff that comes out of your skin through tiny holes called pores. Perspiration - which is mostly water - is your body's way of keeping you cool when you are heated up from exercise or hot weather. So next time you sweat, don't sweat it - it's just your body's way of chillin' you out!


    Physical Therapist

    Say: fizz-ick-all thair-a-pist

    After you get injured, have an operation, or are really sick for awhile, your body might forget how to move a part (or parts) of your body the way you used to. It may be hard to stand, walk, run, or catch a ball. A physical therapist helps your body remember by teaching you to do exercises, playing games, giving you massages, or making you move around in warm water.


    Pimple

    Don't run when you see a red spot on your face - it's only a pimple! When a little hole in your skin gets clogged with dirt and oil, up pops up a pimple.


    Pinna

    What? What? Better put your hand around your pinna to hear me better - that's the name for the part of your ear ear that you can see, the part sticking off your head.


    Platelets

    Say: plate-lits

    Inside your blood are tons of tiny cells called platelets. If you get a cut, these platelets stack up together like kitchen plates, plugging the hole in the blood vessel wall caused by the cut. Eventually, these blood cells form a scab. So the next time you do dishes, think about your amazing and wonderfully stackable platelets!


    Pneumonia

    Say: new-moan-yah

    Pneumonia is something you get when some nasty germs get into your lungs. Usually, they make you feel sick, cough, and get a fever. It might even make it hard to breathe for a little while. But don't worry, your doctor will probably give you some medicine called antibiotics to make you feel better in no time.


    Prosthesis

    Say: pross-thee-sis

    If you think that a prosthesis was a fake body part, you're correct! Sometimes, when someone hurts an arm or a leg very badly, or when a person is born without an arm or leg or any other part of their body, they can get a prosthesis - a man-made part that replaces what's missing. It's kind of cool because a prosthesis acts like it's real, and may even look real because it's the same color as skin! They can make it much easier for people to walk and do other stuff they need to do.


    Puberty

    Say: pyoo-ber-tee

    Everyone goes through puberty, even though it sometimes feels like you're the only one! It's the period of time when your mind and body changes and matures, turning you from a kid to an adult.


    Pulmonologist

    Say: poll-mon-oll-low-jist

    If you think a pulmonologist is a lung and breathing specialist, then you're awesome! Pulmonologists are special doctors who help people who have trouble with their lungs, like kids with asthma. So breathe easy . . . the pulmonologist is here!


    Pulmonary

    Breathe in, breathe out . . . and feel your pulmonary power! Pulmonary is a fancy word for having to do with the lungs.


    Pulse

    Say: polce

    That beating heart of yours creates a pulse in your body! Your heart has to push so much blood through your body that you can feel it pulse each time your heart beats! Wow! And it's so strong that you can feel a pulse in other parts like your thumb, your wrist, and your neck. So try it out and start feeling the beat!


    Radiologist

    Say: ray-dee-oll-o-jist

    Sometimes, when you get an X-ray or CT scan, the funny-looking picture that they take is kind of hard for doctors to understand. That's where radiologists come in. They are specialists in reading and making sense of these pictures, and they help doctors figure out what's going on inside you.


    Red Blood Cells

    Say: red blud sells

    Red blood cells look a little like donuts without holes that go all the way through, and they float around in your blood, picking up oxygen from your lungs and carrying it to your cells.


    Rheumatologist

    Say: roo-muh-tal-ih-jist

    This is the kind of doctor who deals with rheumatological problems. Rheumatologists help kids who have juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and more.


    Rx

    This is short for the word prescription. Doctors use prescriptions to tell pharmacists what medicine a patient should take, how often, and how much.


    Saliva

    Say: suh-lie-vuh

    Slimy! Shiny! Slippery! Saliva is none other than spit, the clear liquid in your mouth that's made of water and other chemicals.


    Scoliosis

    Say: sko-lee-oh-sis

    When a kid's spine is curved, it can mean that scoliosis is on the scene. Luckily, back braces and special surgery can help many kids say, "see ya' later" to scoliosis.


    Sebum

    Say: see-bum

    You can't see it, but it's there - sebum is your skin's natural oil. Sebum keeps your skin soft and makes it a bit waterproof. Ever get wrinkly fingers in the tub? That's because sebum's left the scene!


    Seizure

    Say: see-zur

    A seizure can seem pretty scary . . . especially if you don't know too much about it. Your brain normally sends lots of electric signals to your body to tell it what to do, but when the electric signals go a little haywire, a person can have a seizure. During a seizure, a person may shake all over and seem to lose control of their body. Another person may be incredibly still and stare into space for a while. The person usually doesn't realize what's happening and probably won't remember when they wake up. People who have seizures often have a condition called epilepsy.


    Skin Test

    Say: skin test

    When you think that you might be allergic to something, a special doctor called an allergist can help you figure out if you really are by giving you a skin test. During a skin test, the doctor will put a drop of liquid containing whatever you think is causing your allergies on the skin of your back or your arm. Then, he'll lightly scratch your skin a little bit, and if you get red or itchy, you'll know you're allergic!


    STAT

    Quick! On the double! Hurry up! Get moving! When you hear the word STAT in a hospital, it means all these things.


    Stethoscope

    Say: steth-a-scope

    When you go to the doctor he or she will probably use something called a stethoscope to hear the sounds that the inside of your body makes. Usually, we can't hear these sounds very well, but with a stethoscope, the sounds get a whole lot louder! With it, the doctor can hear sounds like your heartbeat, the air going in and out of your lungs, tummy gurgles, and other wonderful noises that tell a doctor how things are working inside.


    Strep Screen

    Say: strep skreen

    If you've ever had a really sore throat, you've probably had a strep screen. First, a doctor takes a cotton swab and touches the back of your throat to get a sample of the germs making you sick. Next, the swab is sent to a lab where they do a quick test to see if you've been infected with the strep germ that causes strep throat. If you do have it, it's no big deal, because that just means you'll have to take some medicine called antibiotics to help you get better. Before you know it, that frog will be outta your throat!


    Symptoms

    Say: simp-tums

    Symptoms! When you're sick, usually you have symptoms - funky body changes like fevers that let you know something's not right with your body. By telling a doctor your symptoms, doctors can figure out what's wrong. Think of symptoms like clues you need to solve a mystery - if you have enough of them, it's pretty easy to figure out! For example, if you have an achy ear and you're feeling crummy, you might have an ear infection. And if you're throwing up and your stomach hurts, maybe you have a stomach virus. So the next time you're feeling yucky, tell your parents and doctor your symptoms so you can get better!


    Tinnitus

    Say: tin-eye-tuss

    Ring, ring, ring . . . it's not the phone, it's the word for a ringing sound in the ears. Tinnitus can sometimes be caused by loud music or noises, or even ear infections.


    Tonsillectomy

    Say: ton-seh-leck-teh-me

    Tonsils are those two bumps on each side of the back of your mouth. Your tonsils are "germs catchers" for your body. Sometimes, the germs take over your tonsils, hang out there, and make your tonsils swollen, red, and painful. Usually medicine makes you better, but if you keep getting tonsil infections called tonsillitis, doctors can help by performing an operation called a tonsillectomy where they just take your tonsils out. Luckily, our tonsils aren't super-important parts of our bodies, so you won't miss them when they're gone! In fact, you won't get sore throats anymore, and while your throat is healing, you can have all the Jell-O™ and ice cream you can eat!


    Umbilical Cord

    Say: um-bill-ick-ul

    This is the name for the long tube that runs between a mother and her unborn baby to carry oxygen and nutrients in and wastes out. When a doctor cuts the umbilical cord, the baby is left with a belly button!


    Urinalysis

    Say: yer-a-nal-uh-sis

    Pee, which is also called urine, is full of stuff that your body doesn't want anymore, like ammonia, urea, salt, and not to mention extra water floating around. But sometimes, your urine has stuff in it that shouldn't be there like blood cells, bacteria, or certain chemicals. That's where a urinalysis comes in. A urinalysis helps doctors to figure out what might be wrong because it takes a closer look at your urine to see if anything there doesn't belong.


    Urticaria

    Say: ur-tih-care-ee-ah

    You've probably heard of hives . . . no, not bee hives, silly! Hives on your skin! Huh? Hives, which are also called urticaria, are itchy, red spots of skin that pop up when you're allergic to something like medicine, animals, bug bites, or almost anything. They're VERY itchy, and pretty unpleasant, and if you get them a lot, your doctor can give you medicine to keep them from coming back. Whew!


    Varicella Zoster

    Say: var-ih-sell-luh zohs-ter

    If you've got this, you've picked up the pox! It's the medical name for chicken pox, the virus that covers you in red, itchy bumps.


    Veins and Arteries

    All of your body parts need their own form of nutrition to stay alive and keep you healthy. Body parts find this nutrition in blood. Your body has something like a highway system to deliver and take away blood to your body parts. The system, called the circulatory system, is made up of small "tubes" called veins and arteries.

    The heart pumps blood through the circulatory system. First the heart pumps the blood through the lungs where oxygen is picked up, turning dark blood into bright red blood full of oxygen. Blood returning from the lungs is pumped into a large blood vessel called the aorta which heads out into the body, and splits up into several main arteries (these are smaller). These arteries lead to your bones, muscles, skin, and everywhere. The blood "feeds" oxygen and nutrients to these parts.


    Virus

    Say: veye-russ

    Viruses are very, very, very tiny, and they're a type of germ. If they get inside your body, they can make you sick, like when you get a cold. Viruses are kind of weird too because to make you sick they have to attach themselves to a cell in your body and use it to make more viruses. The bad part about viruses is that antibiotic medicines won't make you better if a virus makes you sick. Your body's immune system usually has to fight these germs off by itself. Luckily, your immune system knows how to do this!


    Wheeze

    Say: weez

    Hey, what's that whistle? It's a wheeze! Sometimes, kids with asthma wheeze, or make a whistling sound, when they can't breathe very well. This is because their breathing tubes, or wind pipes, get irritated and swell up, narrowing the space where the air goes through. This narrowing makes the air sound different when it comes out again. Gee wheeze!


    White Blood Cells

    Say: whyte blud sells

    White blood cells to the rescue! These awesome cells are like warriors that live in your blood. They attack germs and things that could hurt you by shooting them with special chemicals or even eating them! Gulp! To keep these guys strong and tough, you should eat lots of healthy foods like pasta, fruit, and vegetables, and get plenty of sleep. You need them to be there for you to save the day!


    X-Ray

    Say: ex-ray

    X-rays! X-rays are what doctors use to see the inside of your body. A special machine takes an X-ray, or a special picture, of a part of your body so that doctors can see if everything inside is where it should be. All sorts of things can be seen through an X-ray, like broken bones (fractures) or even cavities.


    Yawn

    Get some air in there! A yawn is your brain's way of telling your body to take in more oxygen. So without even thinking about it, you open wide and ya-a-a-w-w-n!