Julia is reading an article in a popular weekly about symptoms of common illnesses / diseases (= health problems).

„Are you coming down with the flu (= are you beginning to feel sick)? You don’t know how to tell? Let us help you! If the symptoms described here sound familiar, you will know what your problem is. Flu (= influenza) is like a very bad cold, but you also get a fever – your body temperature goes up, even to 40 degrees. Like with a cold, you probably have a runny nose, which causes you to use masses of tissues, and you sneeze a lot (= air is coming from your nose in a fast, uncontrollable manner). You may also cough (= air is forced out of your lungs through your throat with a short, loud sound). Oh, and let’s not forget – the sore throat! The pain in your throat means that you can’t eat properly and your voice sounds hoarse – a bit like Janis Joplin’s 🙂

On the other hand, if you are getting a rash – a kind of skin condition characterized by a group of spots or a raised area on the skin – it is probably not the flu. But of course if the rash doesn’t clear up – doesn’t disappear – soon, it is advisable to see a doctor too!”

„I hope I don’t catch a cold this winter – I hope I don’t get a cold”, thinks Julia. „And I hope I don’t catch the flu either!”


More contexts for the new words:

  • It was a rash decision and they soon regretted it, but it was too late to change it.
    (= without thought about the consequences; careless)
  • You’ve just run ten miles?! Well, sit down and catch your breath.
    (= wait and rest for a moment after you have been very active, so that you can begin to breathe more slowly)




True or false? Correct the false statements.


  1. A rash is a problem with your stomach.
  2. Influenza is like flu, but more severe.
  3. A runny nose is wet.
  4. If you have a sore throat, salty water might help.
  5. If you come down with an illness, it means you get better.
  6. If the thermometer says 40 degrees, you can say you have a temperature.
  7. If you cough or sneeze, it is polite to cover your mouth with your hand.





Match the question halves, then answer the questions.


  1. What do you do when you have a sore
  2. When did you last come down
  3. How do you prevent yourself from catching

a) a cold in winter?
b) throat?
c) with an illness? What was it?




If the symptoms described here sound familiar, you will know what your problem is.

In the text above, this sentence is printed at the beginning of the article. The reader will only discover in the future – after reading the text – if the symptoms sound familiar or not. This means that both parts of the sentence refer to the future – but only one of them uses a future tense („you will know„), and the other one uses a present tense („if the symptoms sound familiar„). Why?

This is an example of a conditional sentence. It is a real conditional – it describes something that will in fact happen, if a given condition is fulfilled. Let’s look at more examples:

If you tell me what to buy, I will do the shopping.
(= The condition is that you must tell me what to buy. Once this condition is fulfilled, the other thing will happen – in this example, I will do the shopping. Again, both situations – telling what to buy as well as doing the shopping – will happen in the future, but we only use a future tense in the part without „will”.)

If he continues going out without a jacket, he will soon be lying in bed with a cold rather than playing outdoors with his friends!

Conditional sentences of this type are often referred to as „1st conditional”.





A/ Hi John!

B/ Jimmy! Oh, I’m so glad to see you! You are A SIGHT FOR SORE EYES!


A sight for sore eyes is an idiomatic expression used to express our happiness about seeing somebody or something.






  1. The text features the phrasal verb COME DOWN WITH, which means ‘to get an illness.’ Its synonym is to GO DOWN WITH an illness.

Five people in my office have gone down with the flu.

I really don’t want to go down with a cold this year.


  1. The opposite is to GET OVER an illness. It means ‘to recover.’

It can take a few weeks to get over an illness like that.

Sheila was only just getting over the flu when she got a stomach bug.





Complete each of the gaps with one word. Use the phrasal verbs/idioms you’ve learnt.


  1. Half of Jane’s class has gone down ……………………… flu.
  2. Hi Fred! Good to see you! You’re a sight for ……………………….. eyes!
  3. It took him years to get ……………………….. the shock of his wife dying.





A wave of panic has swept Europe recently, as the numbers of those infected with a new type of E. Coli soared rapidly. The infection progresses after ingesting contaminated food or beverages. The initial symptoms include sudden abdominal pain and severe cramps, followed within 24 hours by diarrhea. E. coli symptoms also may include vomiting and fever, although fever is an uncommon symptom. In most infected individuals, symptoms of E. coli infection last about a week and finish without any long-term problems. However, with the new strain of the bacteria, very severe consequences might occur, leading even to death. In the ensuing recent panic, millions of tons of cucumbers and lettuce were destroyed, as they were allegedly connected with the outburst. Still, it is not sure what exactly has caused the sudden bout of infections.




to soar – to increase greatly

to ingest – to swallow

beverages – drinks

abdominal – in the stomach

a cramp – sudden severe pain in a tired muscle that becomes very tight

diarrhea – an illness in which you pass solid waste from your body too often and in a liquid form

strain – type

bout – wave


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  1. False – it is a problem with your skin.
  2. False – they are synonyms.
  3. True
  4. True
  5. False – you start the illness.
  6. False – you have a fever.
  7. True



  1. b
  2. c
  3. a



  1. with
  2. sore
  3. over