Health Literacy Thesaurus: Medical terms, phrases, references,
and their Plain English equivalents or definitions

P (palatable - purchase)

Step 1: Click "Next" to show the term, phrase, or reference. Step 2: Click "Next" again
to show the Plain English equivalent or definition; Repeat Steps 1 and 2. (Best viewed on Firefox or Chrome)
palatablepleasing, tasty, good
pandemic flupandemic flu, deadly flu, fast and wide-spread flu
pandemic vaccinepandemic flu vaccine
panzootica flu pandemic in animals, a deadly flu pandemic in animals, fast and wide-spread flu in animals
papulesmall red dot on your skin, skin rash
paralysiscan’t move
parameterlimit, factor, value
parasiteanimal or plant living off another animal or plant
participatetake part, join, share
passive immunitydisease protection from either mother or vaccine
pathogengerm, virus, disease-causing agent
pathogenicdisease causing
peak flow metersmall tool used to measure how fast you can blow out air
peak flowthe fastest you can blow out air
pendingcoming, until, waiting on something or someone
performdo, carry out, act
pericarditisheart inflammation, swelling of the tissue covering the heart
perinatal deathdeath before birth, stillborn
peripheryedge, boundary
peritoneumlining of your stomach, belly, tummy
permanentlasting, long term, forever
permitallow, let
perseverehold on, keep at, last, keep trying, not give up
persistentthere all the time, constant, doesn’t go away, not giving up
personal protective equipment (PPE)gowns, face shields, gloves, face masks, and respirators
personnelpeople, staff
persuadeconvince, talk into, win over, urge
pertinentfitting, important
petechiaetiny red or purple spot on your skin, skin rash
pharmacistdruggist, drug dispenser
physical examinationcheck-up, doctor’s appointment
physical therapistsomeone who treats pain and weakness by exercise
physical therapytreatment of pain and weakness through exercise
picacraving, dirt or clay eating, unusual appetite
placebosugar pill
plateletblood clotting cell
pleurisylung inflammation
pneumonialung infection
podiatrythe medical department that treats problems with feet, medical specialty – feet, foot doctor
poliomyelitispolio; a disease that can make you unable to move
pollutedirty, poison, taint, spoil
polysaccharide vaccinessugar vaccines
portionpiece, amount, part, serving
positionjob, rank, class, grade
possesshave, own
post-exposure prophylaxisdrug given to someone who has been near someone sick, prevention drug, drugs to prevent the spread of disease
postponeput off, wait, delay
potencystrength, force, power, level, dose
precautionsafeguard, caution, guard, care
predicamentproblem, bad situation, plight, difficulty
preliminaryearly, not final, initial
pre-pandemic vaccinepandemic flu or deadly flu vaccine; shot
preparednessreadiness, alertness, to be ready, to prepare, be prepared
prescriptiondoctor's orders, medicine, drug order
presentgive, send, now, show
prevalencenumber of sick people
prevalencespread, disease spread, number, figure
preventstop, keep from happening, forbid, keep, hinder
preventionstop, bar, avoid
primary teethbaby teeth
principalmain, first, head, chief, most important
probabilitychance, likelihood
proceduresteps, method, course of action, how-to, way
proceedgo, move forward
prodromalsigns of disease or attack
proficientskilled, experienced, able
progressionmove forward, go on, get worse, advance
prohibitban, forbid, prevent
projectileobject moving with great force and speed, as in “projectile vomit”
proliferategrow, spread, reproduce
prophylacticdrugs given to prevent sickness or pregnancy, birth control, condom
prophylaxisprevention drugs, remedy, curative
prostategland in male body that makes sperm
prostatitisinfection of the prostate
protocolmethod, standard, step-by-step process
protocolrules, code
providegive, offer, send, supply
provokemake worse, cause, anger, annoy
psoriasisa dry, scaly, skin rash
psoriatic arthritisjoint swelling disease with skin rash
psychiatristmental health doctor, shrink
psychiatrystudy of mental health
PSA testa test to check the health of the prostate
PTSDan anxiety problem after seeing or having a traumatic event
public healtheveryone’s health, our health, health of the community as a whole
puffa short, gentle burst; a small breath
pulmonaryrelated to the lungs
pulmonary cancercancer of lung, trachea, bronchus
pulmonary care unitlung disease treatment area of hospital
pulmonary fibrosislung disease, scarring of lung tissue, shortness of breath
pulmonologistlung doctor
pulmonologystudy of lung disease

Source: CDC Plain Language Thesaurus for Health Communications. Other related materials: Vaccines & Immunizations Glossary; Harvard School of Public Health "Plain Language Glossaries" for asthma, arthritis, and lupus; Medical Library Association "Deciphering Medspeak" for diabetes, stroke, and HIV-AIDS

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