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Surviving a cold or the flu in the USA

Moving to another country has its challenges. Trying to find food and products that remind you of « home » is difficult at best. My toughest moment as an expatriate was the first time I got sick. I was in a foreign country, I had no idea what medicine to take, I sick and miserable which combine made the all experience traumatizing. I got the flu which is bad enough, unfortunately during winter it’s even worse… You will discover soon enough that  being in the USA without a good health insurance plan is not an option, hopefully you’ll figure this out before you get sick. Americans love their choices, unfortunately in situation like this one, too many choices is not necessarily a good thing. It can be confusing and overwhelming, especially when you are sick.

I was miserable, I had a fever and I had to find something to quickly give me a release. I got up the strength to walk up to the pharmacy (the names of the stores varies from where you live, it can be CVS, Duane Read, Rite Aid, Walgreen…). When I finally get to the Cold and Flu aisle in the pharmacy, I became very upset. They had so many choices, I didn’t recognizes any of the brands or medications. The medicines had all kind of prices and applications, it was all very confusing and I couldn’t make up my mind. I probably spent a lot more time and money than I should have. The fear of the unknown and unfamiliar combine with being sick can be very stressful, you just desperately want something familiar and comforting to make you feel better.

I personally had to figure out by trial and error which over the counter medications were right for me. Hopefully what I have learned might be helpful if you find yourself in a familiar situation.

I would definitely recommend Tylanol Cold Max Night time (blue bottle, doesn’t inspire confidence but it definitely works on me). I take this and it usually makes me sleep through the whole night and help to relieve my symptoms. I tried the DayQuil cold and flu and Musinex but they didn’t really work as well on me, although they are highly recommended medications.

I would also recommend Zicam Quick Disolve Shorten cold. You take this every 3 hours when you start feeling under the weather and it should help a great deal, at least it does for me. Emergen-C is an other great preventative option when you feel the symptoms of the cold creeping up.

I also tried a few different allergies medicines, and opted for Benadryl because it doesn’t make me so drowsy.

These are just a few of the brand names, I can personally recommend. You can easily find them in pharmacy and not get lost in the aisle. I don’t have to waste time especially if I’m sick and I wish somebody had shared a list of medecine the first time I got sick here, it would have avoided me from having a nervous breakdown at the pharmacy.

I recommend you to take the time and do some research into the various medications they offer. The cold and flu season is here, prepare yourself, hopefully you won’t have to run to the pharmacy alone while you are sick.



Halloween Harvest Festival @t Socrates Sculpture park

When you are an expatriate, it is important to get involved in your community. I have leaned from my personal experiences that staying busy and involved in your adopted home is the best antidote to home sickness. One of the great things about Astoria is all the wonderful oportunities it gives you to do just that. There are all sorts of very cultural, artistic and community oriented activities to meet everyone interest.   

Every year, Socrates Sculpture Park organizes a Halloween Harvest Festival to close the season before the winter comes. It’s a huge event with hundreds of people and of course puppies. This year’s theme was “Dia de Los Muertos” with a procession and dance performance presented by Ballet Folklorico Mexicano de Nueva York, they were accompanied by music from Academia De Mariachi Nuevo Amanecer.

It was an exciting event for kids, they had a face painting booth by Agostino Arts and costume and art making by the Socrates artists.

The reason why we always go to this event is because the park organizes it every year along with the Canine Costume Contest. This year the judges were coming from Chateau le Woof, Friends with four paws Rescue and Rapawzel Dog grooming and day care. I love seeing how creative pet owners get with their pooches… Our little monster Willie hates costumes so usually go as spectators.

This is such a great event if you have kids and live in the neighborhood or if you just want to experience a traditional halloween harvest festival. The crowd is friendly and everybody always looks like they are having a great time in this disconected digital age. I really appreciate what this community has to offer us every months. If you are not familiar with the Astoria community, you should come by and check it out.