13 Ways to *Not* Be Sick in the City

Cold remedies from our staff, because being sick in the city is considerably less fun than that other s-word.

Photo Christin Hume/Unsplash

Oh, you don’t feel well? Your throat hurts? Call your parents, because NYC doesn’t care. That’s why anyone who has survived even one winter here has developed a personal arsenal of remedies to prevent and treat the common cold—this town just doesn’t have time for your moaning (and neither do you, really). Try our we-swear-by-them tips and tricks for feeling better fast.

Chug Juice

Before he joined us as our database manager and resident pizza guru, Mark Romano worked a food service job that required him to toil outside, at night, all winter long (poor Mark!): “I survived off of the wellness shots and juices from Grass Roots Juicery in Williamsburg. Probably every other week, I would get that presick feeling and would just double down on these juice shots—and I never got sick! Most wellness shots are pretty harsh, but, by comparison, GRJ’s are delightful.” (Don’t live in Billyburg? We love these NYC juiceries, too.) When he does get sick, though, Mark says he relies on carrot ginger soup from Whole Foods. “And if I’m too sick to leave the house or cook, I’ll order chicken soup from my local diner and mix ginger, turmeric, and cayenne into it. Those three things are like the holy trinity of anti-inflammatories.” Amen, Mark.

cold remedies
Photo courtesy of Grass Roots Juicery/Facebook

Put Your Body—And Your Drink—On Ice

Experience planner Josh Splett doesn’t mess around when it comes to his health: “I drink whiskey and take ice baths. The ice bath releases adrenaline, which opens airways in the lungs and narrows blood vessels. I drink whiskey because I like it.” Can’t argue with that, Josh. In fact, cold therapy has been shown to boost immunity. For a step above putting your face in a deli bag of ice, try the whole-body cryotherapy treatment at Fuel Stop, during which you spend three minutes in a chamber set to minus-250 degrees Fahrenheit. We tried it and, spoiler alert, it was cold (but we’d do it again!).

Take Penicillin

As for the whiskey portion of Josh’s wellness regimen, he’s onto something there, too. In small quantities, the alcohol can numb a sore throat and dilate mucus membranes the way menthol does, allowing you to breathe easier. Add a little honey, ginger, and lemon to the mix—aka a penicillin cocktail—and you’ve got a remedy that goes down way smoother than Robitussin. Grab a stool at one of our favorite comfort bars—Long Island Bar, Pouring Ribbons, Juke Bar, The Astorian, White Oak Tavern, and Cooper’s in the East Villageand order their signature penicillins.

cold remedies
Photo courtesy of Long Island Bar

Sup, Sip, Slurp

Our partnerships associate Carolina Ramirez mounts a three-pronged defense against colds and winter yuckies: supplements, tea, and soup: “The minute I start to feel a little tickle in my throat, I load up on Wellness Formula supplements (available at most health food stores and Whole Foods). If the cold does come, I take Counter Attack (also available at health food stores), drink plenty of Throat Coat tea, and order chicken soup from La Isla, my favorite Cuban restaurant in Hoboken. All of the above usually kicks my cold to the curb!”

Spice Things Up

When senior editor/dining and drinking expert Jess Bender gets really sick, the most effort she exerts is to open the door to retrieve her delivery order from Mumbai Masala. “Indian food is the best for colds, and my sick-day order is always the same: warm yellow daal with sinus-clearing ginger and cumin, and a side of fluffy garlic naan to soak up the remaining juices—or act as an impromptu face pillow if I decide to nap at the table,” she says. Order from your local Indian takeout spot or travel to a few of our faves: Adda in Long Island, Thelewala on MacDougal Street, Delhi Heights in Jackson Heights, Haandi in Curry Hill, Indian Accent in midtown, and Saffron in Astoria.

Adda Indian Restaurant Eat LIC
Murgh rezala. / Photo courtesy of Adda

Try Oregano and Infrared

Photo editor Amy Hoppy pinky swears by Zane Hellas Pure Greek Essential Oil of Oregano. “You mix a few drops with a tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil,” she says (no word on whether you or not you can put it on pizza). “It literally kills flu and cold viruses in their tracks. I cured strep throat twice with this oil, avoiding having to take antibiotics.” (Take this oregano with a grain of proverbial salt: While the WSWD staff is fabulous in every way, we are not medical professionals.) In addition to the essential oil, Amy books a session in the infrared sauna at Floating Lotus whenever she feels like she’s coming down with something for a “whole body cellular detox.”


Photo courtesy of Floating Lotus Wellness Studio/Facebook

Forget Chicken Soup

Matzo balls are where it’s at. “Matzo ball soup is a must-have when I am feeling under the weather,” says Carolyn Innocenzi, WSWD’s head of client experiences. “Ben’s Kosher Deli has been my go-to spot for years for that deliciously flavorful and soothing golden broth to go.” Assistant editor Ally Schenker, though, likes to hedge her bets with the Chicken in Pot entrée from PJ Bernstein, which dunks both half a chicken and a matzo ball in broth.

Photo courtesy of PJ Bernstein Deli Restaurant/Facebook

Trust a Farmer

A friend of editorial director Mac Montandon’s, who happens to work at GrowNYC—so she must know all about plants and natural stuff, right?—suggested Mac try an herbal supplement called Umcka: “I don’t know what’s in it or why it should work (not the ideal way to take something, I realize), but I felt a cold coming on about three weeks ago and chewed a couple of tablets and didn’t get sick. Maybe it has something to do with the magic farmer on the website?” That checks out with us, Mac!

Breathe in the Ocean Air—In Midtown

Contributor Chris Chafin likes to dig his toes into the Himalayan salt crystals at Breathe Salt Rooms. Inhaling tiny salt particles inside a salt room is said to treat and soothe respiratory conditions, from asthma to the flu, though the science behind the benefits is mixed. But forget all that, says Chris: “It’s just a fantastic way to sit in a quiet, softly lit room for 35 minutes, take a deep breath, and be alone with your thoughts. You’ll feel fantastic when you finish a session, though whether that’s from the salt or just getting some peace and quiet, it’s hard to know.”

cold remedies
Photo courtesy of Breathe Salt Rooms
Looking for more ways to self-medicate? Our app can help you find the best bars and restaurants in every neighborhood.