New York Makes Me Sick

New York makes me sick. Literally. Physically. Not figuratively.

I have been to New York 3.5 times (I don’t normally count airport stops but a flight got canceled and I spent an unepexted night in a hotel somehere one time… so thats what I call .5).

The first time I visited was on a family vacation in 2008.

I was so excited to go to New York, I made a detailed itinerary, and we did everything possible in our 5 days there.

No sickness.

The second time I was in New York was for the 2010 TBEX travel bloggers conference. I toured my friend Candice around to places I had been before, went to the conference, met lots of new friends and finally met a lot of people that I had known from twitter and online face to face. We socialized, shared contacts, partied and drank the weekend away and had a great time.

That Monday it happened. I won’t go into details because quite frankly I’m not even sure what was going on but I was on the subway with Candice and I noticed an odd water blister on my leg. I kind of freaked out about it, but we kept exploring the city anyway.

It got worse.

One became five or six or more between my two legs.

I called my mom, because what else do you do when you get sick while traveling? I went to a pharmacy, thought it might of been an allergic reaction, talked to a pharmacist and swallowed down some Benadryl… it didn’t seem to do anything and it kept getting worse.

I went to my hotel, laid down tried to put my legs up, still nothing better. My flight home was the next day so rather than visit a a Doctor’s office in the US or go to the ER, I slept and hoped it would get better.

The next day with it only getting worse I headed to the airport, downed some baby aspirin for the flight and tried to keep my legs up as much as possible.

When I got home, I basically went to straight to the ER. The Doctors weren’t sure what was going on. Maybe a Spider bite? An allergic reaction? “Here’s some antibiotics take these and head home.” They told me. No swabs, no tests, no nothing. To the date I still have no idea what was wrong with my legs.

To see a photo of my leg at the hospital click HERE. WARNING slightly gross/graphic.

After a week of missed worked and two weeks of looking like a mummy with the amount of bandages on my legs and it was gone.

Almost exactly one year later I was back in New York on my third trip to the city for the Nomading Film Festival.

A day or two in the city and I notice a funny mark on the back of my leg and a warm redness around it getting bigger and bigger. This time I was prepared with antibiotics and more from my Doctor. It didn’t get worse and eventually went away.

This coming Saturday I’m headed back to New York. I love that city, the vibe, the people, everything from Coney Island to the Empire State Building, the food, and more. Lets hope this time nothing happens. Please New York stop making me sick.

Have you ever gotten sick while traveling? How do you try to prevent it?




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  • Reply
    February 25, 2020 at 2:25 pm

    Without fail, I ALWAYS get sick going to NYC. As stated by a previous commented It is likely due to the lack of sanitation in the city. Folks with weak immune systems cannot withstand the amount of germs that city produces. Great place to visit but I’m not eager to go back, 3 trips have resulted in 3 weeks out sick.

  • Reply
    September 12, 2018 at 12:09 am

    I think its the fact that nothing gets wiped down or cleaned. Atms, public transport, the machines to get your subway pass, everything just covered with so much germs..I went to NYC and came back, really ragged, I think I got pnemonia, deep coughing and phlem. Maybe the people in NYC are immune, but for people with fragile health its serious, in fact its just a roll of the dice maybe the next place you sit will have something deadly. These large cities need to pay people to wipe things off and clean,like, the subway seats and bars and everything they can, mop the floors. I know im expecting utopia here.. :\

  • Reply
    david smith
    August 29, 2018 at 10:30 am

    I have to travel into NY city once in a while and sometimes like last night on the way home progressively traveling into being quite ill. About an hour after leaving starts a headache and by the time I make it home I am vomiting. It has happened to me three time in my life. First time I was very young. I travel extensively and NY City is the only place that I react this way but not all of the time.

  • Reply
    May 13, 2017 at 1:06 am

    My first visit to New York in years was last April, I came back with Bronchitis. This January I went again, all for Business, came back with Pnemonia. I was there this week and by the second day I had lost my voice. Needless to say, I’m going to the doctor tomorrow. I just went to Denver 2 weeks ago and it was twice as cold and I didn’t get sick, so it’s not the cold weather. I’m hoping I can find a solution cause NY is awesome but I’m getting tired of getting sick every time I visit.

  • Reply
    Sarah Reynolds
    March 22, 2012 at 10:59 am

    wow that is a crazy reaction!! As a Bostonian I’m only made sick figuratively by New York..well the Giants at least. You’ll have to update if a cause is ever identified. Great blog thanks for sharing!!

  • Reply
    February 20, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    I usually get sick when I travel, mostly colds. No I come prepared and I pack ColdFX with me, and I’ll make ginger tea if I’m staying somewhere with a kitchen. I hope everything works out for you in New York.

  • Reply
    February 20, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    I’m getting over a cold so you’ll need to fight the urge to make out with me. I know, I know, it will be really hard, but I don’t want NYC’s reputation to hurt more because of it.

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