Dr. Niket Sonapal Offers Tips to Avoid Illness and Other Medical Consequences While Traveling

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer. According to AAA, more than 41.5 million Americans will travel this Memorial Day weekend by car, plane, or train. Nothing ruins a long-awaited vacation faster than getting sick or medical distress.

We turned to Dr. Niket Sonpal, an NYC internist and gastroenterologist for some tips on how to avoid health consequences will traveling.

Avoid Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep vein Thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in one or more of the deep veins in your body, usually in your legs. Deep vein thrombosis can cause leg pain or swelling, but also can occur with no symptoms. For travelers, this can happen on long haul trips where you are not moving. Dr. Sonpal recommends if you are flying or on a train, to move around the cabin to get the blood flowing in your legs. If you are driving, take a break at a rest stop and walk around. Compression socks are also another option to prevent DVT.


Dr. Christopher Calapai Explains "Superfoods" - Ultra-Violet to Ultra Healthy


Don't Get Nauseous

People can experience motion sickness on virtually any mode of transportation. To combat this, Dr. Sonpal suggests Dramamine® Non-Drowsy Naturals, Dramamine®'s first non-drowsy formulation. It contains the clinically tested ginger dosage required for preventing and treating motion sickness. Other sources of ginger, including candies, gums, or ginger ale, may not contain a full clinical dose. For someone who is already experiencing nausea while traveling, it is a good idea to keep Emetrol on hand which is an over the counter nausea medication that does not cause drowsiness.

Avoid Bloating on a Plane

If you get gassy on a plane, you're not alone! Dr. Sonpal explains that, "As the pressure around you decreases, the gas in your belly isn't constrained as much and it expands. This can make you feel bloated or become distended." It is essential to avoid foods that cause gas or have salt. Skip the tomato juice in flight and stick with non-carbonated water. Avoid alcohol, cruciferous vegetables, dairy and high sodium snacks such as salted peanuts or pretzels. Foods that are protein packed, magnesium-rich and high in Vitamin C are good options.

Sanitize Your Surfaces

Planes and trains are a breeding ground for illness. The former is awful due to re-circulated air. Most travelers would be appalled if they really knew how germy their tray tables are! Dr. Sonpal suggests sanitizing wipes for your tray table, seat belt clip and hand rests of your seats on planes and trains. When you exit a restroom on a plane or train and touch the door handles, be sure to use hand sanitizer even if you already washed your hands.

Get Your Shots Before Traveling Abroad!

Before you even book your trip, make sure you're up to date on your shots. If you're traveling to an area where you're at risk for picking up an illness like malaria, you might be prescribed preventative medication. Dr. Sonpal suggests that, "People should use the CDC website for recommended vaccines for travel abroad or see a travel clinic. The health risks posed to Americans vary based on the country they are traveling to."

Don't Touch the Ice!

When traveling to a different country, most people are very cautious about only drinking bottled water. Many folks forget that ice is simply frozen water and put it into their soft drinks or alcoholic beverages. Contrary to what one might think, freezing water does not kill bacteria. The only way to be sure it is safe is if you boiled the water and then froze it.


Op/Ed: Adding My Voice and Story to the Many Who Were Once Silenced by Violence


Avoid Jet Lag

Even a relatively short time change from EST to PST (three hours) can cause jet lag. With some international travel from the United States, the time difference can be as much as twelve hours. If you're traveling east, try going to bed one hour earlier each night for a few days before your departure. Dr. Sonpal suggests that, "If you're traveling east, try going to bed one hour earlier each night for a few days before your departure. Go to bed one hour later for several nights if you're flying west. If possible, eat meals closer to the time you'll be eating them at your destination. Set your watch to the new time before you leave. Once you reach your destination, try not to sleep until the local nighttime, no matter how tired you are."

Essential Medicine/Supplies to Travel With

Dr. Sonpal stresses never to check your medication with your baggage, always keep it in your carry on. Have a fresh re-fill on prescription medication with extra doses in case you get stuck at your destination. In addition, here are some essential over the counter meds/supplies to travel with:

Benadryl- For allergic reactions such as insect or bee bites.

Pepto Bismol- For diarrhea

Laxative such as Dulcolax

Anti-biotic ointment such as Neosporin

Common cold/sinus remedies such as Mucinex or Claritin

Pain relievers such as Tylenol or Motrin

Anti- Nausea medication such as Emetrol

Motion Sickness medication such as Dramamine. If you are the driver, be sure to take the non-drowsy version.

Electrolyte tablets for dehydration

Hydrocortisone cream to relieve itching from rashes, bites, poison ivy etc.

Aloe to soothe sunburned skin

Band-Aids

Digital Thermometer

Nasal Spray to prevent clogged ears while flying

Tweezers

Eye Drops

Epi-Pen if you are prone to severe allergic reactions


Staying Healthy During Summer - and Year-Round


How to Find a Reliable Physician if you are Traveling Abroad

The US embassy in your destination country (http://www.usembassy.gov/) can help you locate medical services and will notify your family and friends in the event of an emergency. When selecting a doctor, make sure that he or she can speak your language. The following resources provide lists of doctors and clinics that can care of travelers:

The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (www.iamat.org; membership required, but it is free)

Joint Commission International (www.jointcommissioninternational.org)

The International Society of Travel Medicine (www.istm.org)

Travel Health Online (www.tripprep.com; gets information from various sources so quality is not guaranteed)

About Dr. Sonpal

Dr. Niket Sonpal is an internist and gastroenterologist. He is a native of Long Island NY and a graduate of Medical University of Silesia – Hope Medical Institute in Poland. After completing his residency in Internal Medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital, he was selected to be the 2013‐2014 Chief Resident at Lenox Hill Hospital–Northshore LIJ Health System.

He is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine and Clinical instructor at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, Brooklyn. Dr. Sonpal has completed his Fellowship in gastroenterology & hepatology at Lenox Hill Hospital and will continue his work in the field of medical student and resident test preparation. He now serves as the associate program director for the Internal Medicine Residency Program at Brookdale University medical center.


Beverly Hills Doc Offers Five Fast Tips For Summer Shape Up


He is the co‐author for the best-selling Master the Boards: USMLE Step 2 CK, Master the Boards Step 3, And Master the Boards: Internal Medicine. He is also the Chief Operating Officer for Medquest Test Prep, Director of Medical Education for Picmonic Test Prep, and a recognized expert on medical test prep.

Haute Tease

  • Beltway Insider: Obama/Dems in Philly; DNC Chair Out; PM Slows Brexit; Munich/Kabul; IOC/Russia; Garry Marshall

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Obama and the stars of the Democratic Party head to Philadelphia to outline the platform for the nation during the three-day convention that concludes with the official awarding of the delegates nominating Hillary Rodham Clinton as the Democratic Presidential Candidate.

     
  • UPDATED: Death Toll in Indonesia Tsunami Continues to Rise, Thousands Injured, Missing

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A tsunami triggered by a volcanic eruption on a remote island in Indonesia swept across the beaches of Banten mangling concreate, ripping homes, hotels off their foundations and killing more than 400 and injuring more than 1500.

     
  • Interview with Executive Chef Jaime Chavez – Bringing The Heat to San Diego’s Seafood Scene

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Amid a renaissance underway in San Diego's Little Italy neighborhood, one exciting new eatery, Sirena  promises to bring hot Latin flair to the restaurant fare served up in this burgeoning community.

     
  • Fall Film Preview 2015 - Studios Heavy on True, Compelling, Dramatic, Stories

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    As OSCAR Season is approaching a worthy group of yet to be released titles are surfacing with pre-release buzz. In no particular order these are the must see upcoming films and most likely to be mentioned during Academy Award Nominations.

     
  • Skyscraper Review – A Solid Disaster Film Guaranteed to Entertain

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Skyscraper, from Universal Pictures and Legendary Entertainment, brings to the screen an explosive, entertainment driven, fast moving summer disaster flick with powerful visuals, heightened suspense, extreme special effects, set in ultra-modern, technologically advanced Hong Kong.

     
  • Zuzu Still Thinks IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: A Conversation with Karolyn Grimes

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Nothing completes the holiday experience more than an extra serving—to go with the booze and candied yams—of Frank Capra’s yule-tide yarn, of IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE. It’s a picture that can melt even the iciest of hearts and for those of us grown-ups with no self-worth (or money) in December, there’s just something downright conciliatory about it.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Russia Stands Alone; Ukraine Violence Escalates; April Job Numbers; Stopping Sexual Assault

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Barack Obama and members of the seven top industrialized nations have announced another round of economic sanctions and suspended Russian President Vladimir Putin, who remains unwavering in his annexation pursuits, from any further participation in global summits.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Intelligence Program Overhauled; Congress Stalls UI Benefits; Christie Hits Stormy Weather

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Barack Obama addressed members of the Department of Justice this week, as part of an introduction to the recent changes in the Signal Intelligence program, the use, necessity and major evolution to longstanding gathering methods.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Trump Addresses Davos Attendees; The Perv and The Pedophile: Wynn Resigns; US Gymnast Doc Sentenced; Challenger

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Donald Trump, after a turbulent and shocking freshman year, will give his first State of the Union address this week expected to be a continuation of his themes of making America great again, promised and delivered.

     
  • Joan Severance, Supermodel, Actress, Author, Releases Her First Book

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Joan Severance, the former Supermodel and actress, is adding author to her list of accomplishments with the recent release of her first book "Manifest Your Mate: A Journey for Attraction" proving that a classic never goes out of style.

     
  • I.T. Review - A Shocking, High Tech, Thriller

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    I.T. from Voltage Pictures, RLJ Entertainment, brings to the screen a contemporary high tech thrill ride highlighting the dangers of smart technology advancements and the just waiting to happen destruction especially for the technologically dependent.

     
  • Chilling with The Iceman Star Danny Abeckaser

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Danny Abeckaser, co-star of the shocking real life story of Mafia contract killer, Richard Kuklinski, one of the most notorious hit men in history,  recently participated in a phone interview during the media day for "The Iceman" which is now playing in select U.S. markets.

     
  • Picasso Hides A Stranger in The Blue Room

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Art connoisseurs, collectors, scholars and historians are heralding the genius of Pablo Picasso as extensive research has finally proven the long held belief of a stranger hidden, etched, behind one of his greatest masterpieces.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Trump Attends G20; Redefines Position; NASA; Scalise/ICU; Grenfell Tower Investigation

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Donald Trump has once again fumbled Presidential protocol and allowed his daughter, a positioned adviser to the President, to take his place during meetings with G7 Heads of State at the recent G20 Summit.

     
  • Sir Winston’s Restaurant & Lounge Review - The Ultimate Five Star Gourmet Experience

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Sir Winston's Restaurant & Lounge, RMS Queen Mary, located aboard the historic vessel moored in Long Beach Harbor, is one of the more formal dining destinations in the region offering award winning, five-star cuisine, white glove service against a backdrop of golden romantic ambiance.