Concrete Immune Systems in a Concrete Jungle

A.K.A How to survive being sick while travelling- New York Style.

by Calista Kusuma

They say that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, and when you’re sick on a holiday in the Big Apple, you have to hope that the saying’s true.

Being sick any day and anywhere is already bad, but being sick while travelling is even worse. Last December, I was faced with three different sicknesses (the flu, fever and a cold) over the span of two weeks in New York- the city that I had dreamed of visiting since I was a kid. To add to the sickness, last year’s December happened to be one of the coldest in New York history- with Times Square having the second coldest New Year’s Eve ever as temperatures reached -12 degrees celsius. Just imagine a walking, sniffling black puffer jacket stuffed with Heat Tech from Uniqlo- that was me.

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I still had a fantastic time in New York and it is one of my favourite cities of all time, but runny noses at the top of the Empire State Building don’t exactly make for good Instagrams. So, here are my ultimate tips for handling being sick while travelling:

  • Breakfast is your bestie: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially when you’re sick. You need to start your day off with the right nutrients to give you enough energy to explore the city. Luckily in New York, there were plenty of great brekkie places that served up some mean toast. My personal favourite was Jams- go there for a scrumptious takeaway ‘Jams Classic’ set complete with two eggs any style, a choice of bacon, ham or sausage, side toast and seasonal fruit bowl to start your day right.

Click this link to read Jams’ menu and find a location near your hotel!

  • Walking is the best exercise: Some experts say that exercise helps you get rid of sicknesses. But of course, you wouldn’t want to do anything to strenuous just in case it makes you feel worse. Besides the iconic yellow taxis and subway, walking is the main form of transport for New Yorkers. I believe that a walk in New York makes you forget that you’re sick because of all the beauty the city has to offer. A 30 minute walk in Central Park alone will let you see sights such as The Plaza, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Lady Gaga’s apartment!

Free Tours by Foot is a company offering ‘pay what you wish’ walking tours of New York, read more about them here.

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  • Layers over Layups: Whilst New York is famous for being the hotspot for watching the Knicks’ layups at Madison Square Garden (Best arena in the world hands down- I was seated at the back for the Knicks v 69ers Christmas Game and could still see everything. Watching NBA or a concert at the MSG should be on everyone’s bucket list.), the concrete jungle is also famous for its cold. Layer up if you want to protect yourself from the crushing winds which literally make your ears feel numb- I highly recommend buying HeatTech products from Uniqlo- they are insulated and make you feel all warm and cozy. Also, invest in some winter boots to combat the snow! A great place to go shopping for these winter investments is the Woodbury Common Premium Outlet- about a 30 minute drive from the city, but the discounts are unlike anywhere else! I bought a pair of solid Sketcher boots for only $35 USD! Plus the outlet has a great food court complete with Shakeshack (Its burgers don’t compare to a Maccas cheeseburger to be honest, but the shakes are unforgettable).

Click this link for the official Madison Square Garden event calendar and ticket website and here for a map of Woodbury Common Premium Outlets so that you can map out your sport/music, and shopping adventures!

  • Find a bookstore and a great cafe: You know how you always see people in movies sitting in cafes with a good book? Well it’s a great way to relax and take your mind off your burning fever. A popular cafe chain in New York is Pret A Manger, with a cosy wooden aesthetic and self-serve coffee pots, and yummy warm soups, I think I came in here 10 times over a span of two weeks. New York is also home to the Amazon Books-yep you read that right. Amazon’s first NYC physical bookstore at Columbus Circle is a must-go for book lovers- I didn’t even know it existed but I’m so glad I do now. Here books are grouped by what’s popularly recommended together which is really helpful for finding new reads. There’s no Amazon Books here in Sydney so go there as much as you can!

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  • Towel + cold water + forehead = cure for fevers: No joke, I legit took a nap in my hotel with a towel drenched in cold water on my forehead and I felt fully refreshed straight after- it was as if my fever completely went away for half a day.
  • Hydration, hydration: Drink as much water as you can, it can help fight most sicknesses.  If water isn’t your thing, get some juice! New York has so many juice places it’s actually insane- even the flagship Adidas store (largest in the world) boasts a juice bar for all you flu-ridden athletes.
  • Finally, don’t get too caught up in being sick and enjoy what your holiday destination has to offer! Even if you’re full sick with the flu, get out there as much as possible! It’s not every day you get to travel and have fun, so enjoy it while it lasts because next thing you know it, you’ll be staring at your New York wallpaper while you procrastinate from playing Playconomics like I am right now.

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Want to read more on New York? Click here to read about Marija’s experiences in the Concrete Jungle!

Interested in studying in the USA? Click to read some student experiences in US universities in cities such as  IllinoisTexas and San Diego!

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