Over the past decade, we’ve had a number of national disease scares become public enemy No. 1 in New York City — and with good reason. H1N1 turned out to be as bad as everyone said, Ebola infected someone who rode the L train, Legionnaire’s got to the Bronx, and most recently, the Zika virus was confirmed in the US. With already three diagnosed cases in New York State, it’s time to get serious about protecting ourselves against all the transmittable diseases that might be floating around us, unseen.
Since discovering a number of these ourselves, we’ve decided it’s only right to warn you about six airborne and food-borne illnesses specific to Brooklyn (and therefore not widely covered on the national news). All of these illnesses are highly contagious — and in some cases life-threatening — so read carefully to educate yourself about the symptoms of each one, and stay safe out there this winter.
Pregnant mommies-to-be in Park Slope are most susceptible to this virus, which will plague future generations more than already existing ones: babies are being born with unusually delicate makers’ hands. They demonstrate a pointed interest in terrariums, tiny jar things and small living spaces. Parents should be especially vigilant once children mature to college age, as they may begin to carve out logs for living spaces and accuse ants of aggressing upon them. There’s no known cure for this illness, but treatment can include prolonged exposure to large things, such as The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
In this terrifying vegan version of the airborne virus, beware of tumorous, jelloid, all-plant pustules on your face. They itch like the Dickens, and they spread like wild-forage. Unfortunately, having had chicken pox at a young age doesn’t protect you from this new strain of the virus, which includes a painful urge to touch your friends’ faces so that they, too, can feel what you feel.
As the fermentation craze overtakes the borough, a new-fangled illness is born: brine flu, a disease contracted from the tiny kombucha spores and kefir sperms that wriggle resolutely through the chilly air, from the depths of home-brewers’ basements toward your every orifice. No pickle is safe, no cheesecloth untainted. The only way to protect yourself is to abstain from brined foods entirely, and stick to depression-era foods like corn mush.
In the absence of Uber, the dearth of transportation options takes a sickening turn with Uberculosis, a disease whose greatest weapon is its unpredictability. Just when you think you’re getting better, there’ll be a surge of new symptoms that are up to 9x as potent as they normally would be. Precautionary measures should be observed most at night, in rainy weather, and on holidays.
Just because summer is still a blessed two seasons away, it doesn’t mean we can stop worrying about men-in-jort-is, the dangerous and unforeseen prevalence of denim cutoffs. Diagnosis is spotty at best, but look out for signs including sore eyes, nausea, and occasionally deep-seated attraction. Avoid coming into contact with pasty thighs during the disease’s peak season, May-October.
Sure, excessive indulgence kills, but you weren’t aware of just how toxic hanging out with your wealthier friends could be: after a handful of boozy brunches, iced almond milk lattés, and shopping expeditions to thrift stores that were actually just curated vintage stores, you suddenly find yourself curled up in bed with an empty wallet, avoiding social interaction because you can’t even afford a beer-and-shot special. The only treatment for this illness is prolonged quarantine from your spending buddies, but that’s okay. There are plenty of non-spenders who make equally good, if not better, company.
Follow Sam on Twitter for more hypochondriac anxieties at @ahoysamantha
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