In German we have a figure of speech: "Das geht von selbst vorbei", which normally means that an illness will pass without the need to treat it with medicaments or something special at all. Is there a similar figure of speech known in the English language, too?


Because I'm trying to translate a joke I will share it with you, too. Perhaps you could figure out a better way of translation (I doubt that it would be worth to be a question of its own):

Two planets chat:
"How are you?"
"Not so good; feelin' miserable!"
"Oh? What's up?"
"I have Homo sapiens..."
"Nah, don't worry: it will run its course!"
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    Closest I've got is "run its course" as in "You'll just have to let the flu run its course" – Sarah Feb 24 '16 at 22:34
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    See: idioms.thefreedictionary.com/run+its+course – Sarah Feb 24 '16 at 22:36
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    If you would make an actual answer out of it I would accept it. That is just what I was looking for. Thank you! – Marvin Emil Brach Feb 24 '16 at 22:39
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    I second the "it will take care of itself" suggestion as a good one/the funnier punchline. But if you want to go the "run its course" route, I'd say either "don't worry, it'll run its course" or "don't worry, they'll run their course" – Sarah Feb 24 '16 at 23:00
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    I imagine that, for a planet, Homo Sapiens is rather similar to Dengue Fever for a human. Horrible while it lasts, feels like you're dying, but in most cases it burns itself out before causing lasting harm; although in severe cases it can raise your temperature so high as to cause dangerous side effects. Best treatment for both is to rest and intake plenty of water. – user56reinstatemonica8 Feb 26 '16 at 10:31

The first option I think of is "run its course" as in "You'll just have to let the flu run its course"

See: idioms.thefreedictionary.com/run+its+course

Two planets chat:
"How are you?"
"Not so good; feelin' miserable!"
"Oh? What's up?"
"I have Homo sapiens..."
"Nah, don't worry: it will run its course!"

I would suggest "Nah, don't worry, it will take care of itself."

For a disease to "take care of itself" is a common phrase--even more common than "will run it's course"--for saying something does not need treatment or intervention.

For the purpose of your joke, it has another advantage. Criminals would say "take care of" someone, meaning murdering them (as it would "take care of the problem" of that person being alive/around.) So there would be a suggestion that the reason humans would not be a problem would be because they would be doing themselves in.

But this "take care of itself" meaning "will just go away" is contextual. It would be different if the planets were suggesting an actual concern for the humans:

Two planets chat:
"How are you?"
"Not so good; I'm worried what to feed my Homo Sapiens!"
"Nah, don't worry: they will take care of themselves!"

Here "will take care of themselves" really means--literally--that they can be self-sufficient and find their own food.

  • I see where you are leading to. But the association with criminals is indeed correct for the purpose itself, but for me the "run it's curse" feels more appropriate. But your hint about the terms of disease nailed it, so I already edited my question accordingly. – Marvin Emil Brach Feb 24 '16 at 23:13
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    Why do you are deleting your comments and parts of your answer? Let it be written, so later readers could follow our multiloge and insights :D – Marvin Emil Brach Feb 24 '16 at 23:22
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    @MarvinEmilBrach Why did you edit your question to take out the "they"? That invalidated my comment. But it's fine to do. We want to make the best Q&A we can. Future readers are interested in the answers, and reading two copies of the same text while scrolling down the page just gets in the way. – HostileFork says dont trust SE Feb 24 '16 at 23:24
  • In my opinion there is more value for them when they could follow such a discussion, for they will probably use the phrases in different contexts. Better to straight out multiple occurrings of the same than missing one bit of information. But that is a matter of case to discuss in a chat rather than in the comments. But not tonight, I have to watch a last episode of Rick and Morty before going to sleep ;) edit: nice edit indeed, you really got a point there :D – Marvin Emil Brach Feb 24 '16 at 23:33
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    "Sort itself out" could also be used. In the context of the joke it could mean that they will kill themselves off. – SlashmanX Feb 25 '16 at 12:47

A more technical term for such a disease is self-limiting or self-limited.

Self-limiting condition. An illness or condition which will either resolve on its own or which has no long-term harmful effect on a person’s health.

Source: Segen's Medical Dictionary via thefreedictionary.com.

  • +1 "Don't worry, Homo Sapiens is a self-limiting condition" - I like that, that fits the joke rather well. – user56reinstatemonica8 Feb 26 '16 at 10:23

There is a well-known phrase, supposedly oft-quoted by doctors:

Take two aspirin and call me in the morning.

It's common enough that Google might suggest it after typing in a mere take two as. Though it may have actually been used by physicians at one time, it's usually uttered now rather flippantly.

It's not quite the same as what you're asking for, but it's related. I could see it being used in a dialog like this:

TED: My head hurts, and I feel all congested. I'm thinking about going to the doctor.
NED: Ah, take two aspirin and call me in the morning.

Ned's response could be paraphrased: It's probably not anything serious. Just go home and get some rest.

  • Yes it really is related and if I would use it in another context (I made an edit of my question) it could be my favorite choice. But for now it doesn't fit the purpose. But thank you anyway :D – Marvin Emil Brach Feb 24 '16 at 22:50
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    In a learner's forum like this one, I don't feel like every answer needs to be an exact fit. If my answer teaches a few people about a phrase that they've never run across before, and that makes them more proficient, then it's worth taking the time to post. And who knows? Take two aspirin has been a punchline, too. Anyhow, @Marvin, thanks for your kind words. – J.R. Feb 24 '16 at 22:55
  • For exactly that reason you already got an up vote by myself (answer as well as comment) :D – Marvin Emil Brach Feb 24 '16 at 23:02
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    And so Artificial Intelligence was born: "It's common enough that Google might suggest it after typing in a mere take two as". We take Google's knowledge as proof. (0: – CowperKettle Feb 25 '16 at 17:02

Another option: "Hang in there. It'll pass."

  • More explanation of why someone might choose this over another option or in what types of situations you would use it would make this a better answer. – ColleenV parted ways Feb 25 '16 at 17:54
  • "Don't worry -- it'll pass" was my own first choice. Another example why text boxes designed for Engilsh messages usually overflow when porting a program to German. – Peter - Reinstate Monica Feb 26 '16 at 9:09

If an illness doesn't require any special treatment, you can just say it "goes away on its own".


Two planets chat: "How are you?" "Not so good; feelin' miserable!" "Oh? What's up?" "I have Homo sapiens..." "Probably means you've got man flu!"

Here in the UK, man flu is a standing joke and the term is a way of taking the mickey out of someone who is complaining about not feeling well if you do not believe it to be serious.


There's the "Twelve-Hour Flu", though that's generally invoked as a means of getting out of work/school for a day, and not usually considered an actual illness.

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