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6 Most Common COVID Symptoms in Chinese + Medicine Against Them

by | Dec 20, 2022

6 Most Common COVID Symptoms in Chinese + Medicine Against Them

As Beijing, Shanghai and other cities in China are going through a wave of COVID infections, chances are you’re already 🐑 (阳 yáng), positive.

If not – hang in there!

This week, we’ve prepared a list of medicine items that can help you relieve the COVID-19 symptoms.


🐑 Why “Sheep”?

Before we begin, let’s clarify: what’s the deal with sheep?

🐑 羊 (yáng) sheep (similar to 阳 yáng, "positive') | That's Mandarin Blog

Turns out that the word “positive” in Chinese sounds identical to the word “sheep” (羊, yáng):

positive +

And since being “positive” is a rather serious and unpleasant matter, in order to avoid any discomfort or discrimination against people who’ve tested positive, the Chinese internet has adopted a soft, cute nickname “sheep” to refer to them. It can come in a variety of shapes, forms and emojis:

🐑 / “羊” / yáng


COVID Symptoms + Medicine

We are a Chinese language school, not doctors, but we want to help. Use this list for reference, but in case you’re feeling really bad and/or cannot find the medicine you need, go to the hospital. This is the most secure way to get the right medicine.


01. High Fever

The first covid symptom that might require medicine is high fever:

发烧 (fāshāo) to have a fever | That's Mandarin Blog

to have a fever
(lit. “to emit-heat”)


Antipyretics (general)

To reduce the fever, you’d want a medicine that can make the fever “retreat”:

退烧药 (tuìshāoyào) fever-reducing medicine; antipyretic | That's Mandarin Blog

fever-reducing medicine; antipyretic
(lit. “to retreat-fever-medicine”)

The general recommendation is to take 退烧药 (tuìshāoyào) if the fever is higher than 38.5. Otherwise, it’s better to give your body a chance to fight the virus on its own.

Let’s look at the names of some common 退烧药 (tuìshāoyào).



布洛芬 (Bù luò fēn) Ibuprofen | That's Mandarin Blog

Bù luò fēn




对乙酰氨基酚 (Duì yǐ xiān ān jī fēn) Paracetamol | That's Mandarin Blog

Duì yǐ xiān ān jī fēn


Pū rè xī tòng
Paracetamol (loan word)


02. Muscle Pain / Soreness

Another unpleasant symptom might be muscle pain:

浑身疼 / 全身疼 (húnshēn téng / quánshēn téng) body pain | That's Mandarin Blog

浑身疼 / 全身疼
húnshēn téng / quánshēn téng
body pain
(lit. “all over-body-hurts”)


In case you experience it, there’s a drug that can relieve the pain:

复方氨酚烷胺胶囊 | That's Mandarin Blog

Fù fāng ān fēn wán àn jiāonáng
Compound paracetamol and amantadine hydrochloride capsules


⚠️ It’s not advised to take this drug together with paracetamol.


Besides this drug, ibuprofen and paracetamol can also help relieve the pain.


03. Runny / Stuffed Nose

One more unpleasant symptom can be a runny nose:

流鼻涕 (liú bítì) runny nose | That's Mandarin Blog

liú bítì
runny nose
(lit. “to flow-nose-mucus”)

Quite descriptive, isn’t it? In case you have it, these drops can help:

西替利嗪滴剂 (Xī tì lì qín dījì) Cetirizine drops | That's Mandarin Blog

Xī tì lì qín dījì
Cetirizine drops

And in case you have a stuffy nose, or 鼻塞 (bísè), this spray seems helpful:

羟甲唑啉喷雾剂 (Qiǎng jiǎ zuò lín pēnwùjì) Oxymetazoline nasal spray | That's Mandarin Blog

Qiǎng jiǎ zuò lín pēnwùjì
Oxymetazoline nasal spray

⚠️ It’s not advised to use this spray for more than 7 days.


04. Sore Throat

Another common symptom is sore throat.

嗓子疼 (sǎngzi téng) to have a sore throat | That's Mandarin Blog

sǎngzi téng
to have a sore throat
(lit. “throat-hurts”)

咽痛 yāntòng • sore throat (a bit more official)
喷雾剂 pēnwùjì • spray


One of the recommended sprays against it is:

开喉剑喷雾剂 (Kāi hóu jiàn pēnwùjì) Kaihoujian spray | That's Mandarin Blog

Kāi hóu jiàn pēnwùjì
Kaihoujian spray

And there is a version of it for children, too:

开喉剑喷雾剂(儿童型) Kāi hóu jiàn pēnwùjì (értóng xíng) Kaihoujian spray (for children) | That's Mandarin Blog

Kāi hóu jiàn pēnwùjì (értóng xíng)
Kaihoujian spray (for children)


05. Cough

咳嗽 (késou) to cough | That's Mandarin Blog

to cough

止咳 zhǐké • to relieve cough
化痰 huàtán • to reduce phlegm
口服液 kǒufúyè • oral liquid / syrup

To relieve cough, search for these cough syrups:

惠菲宁口服液 (Huì fēi níng kǒufúyè) Huifeining oral liquid | That's Mandarin Blog

Huì fēi níng kǒufúyè
Huifeining oral liquid

福尔可定口服液 (Fú ěr kě dìng kǒufúyè) Forcodine oral liquid | That's Mandarin Blog

Fú ěr kě dìng kǒufúyè
Forcodine oral liquid

To reduce phlegm, these pills might be helpful:

氨溴索 (Ān xiù suǒ) Ambroxol | That's Mandarin Blog

Ān xiù suǒ


06. Loss of Taste / Smell

Finally, one last common symptom is:

失去味觉和嗅觉 (shīqù wèijué hé xiùjué) loss of taste and smell | That's Mandarin Blog

shīqù wèijué hé xiùjué
loss of taste and smell

Unfortunately, doctors online say there is no medicine against that. These senses come back naturally within a few weeks.



“Yin” and “Yang”

Have you noticed how similar the characters for “negative” and “positive” are?

negative –

positive +

In order not to confuse the two, you can remember that:
🌛 阴 – “negative” is “cold”, with a moon (月) on the right;
☀️ 阳 + “positive” is “hot”, with a sun (日) on the right.

TIP: If even that doesn’t help, remember that “negative” (阴) is the one with tiny legs. You can still go to work/school/other public places if you’re negative.


Practice with Teachers

To discuss the most common medicine
with Chinese teachers,
book a free trial class with That’s Mandarin.


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