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

  • Paris Fashion Week Coverage: Ziad Nakad Fall/Winter 2017/18 Couture Collection – The Snow Crystal Forest

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Ziad Nakad, the Lebanese born Haute Couture fashion designer, wowed the invited guests fortunate enough to secure an invitation to the sought-after designer’s Fall and Winter 2017/2018 Paris Haute Couture show titled The Snow Crystal Forest.

     
  • Holiday Travel: See How the Cost of a Flight Has Changed Since 1963

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

     

    The so-called "Golden Age" of flying -- a vibrant era of luxury in which the comfort and enjoyment of the passenger was put first. These were the '50s and '60s, before the jumbo jet made airline travel much cheaper and more accessible to the public.

     
  • Camp X-Ray Review – Exceptional, Attention Grabbing, Character Driven Performances

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    "Camp X-Ray," from Rough House Productions and IFC Films, brings to the screen a realistic portrayal of post 9-11 life for both terror suspects detained at Guantanamo Bay and guards responsible for keeping them alive.

     
  • Estate of Trailblazer and Icon Diahann Carroll To Be Auctioned at Bonhams Los Angeles (Images)

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Bonhams will present property from the Estate of Diahann Carroll, award-winning entertainer and courageous trailblazer, on March 10, 2020. The collection includes approximately 150 memorabilia items, furniture, personal items, photos, clothing, shoes, handbags, and jewelry.

     
  • Afghan Mudslide Leaves More Than 2000 Feared Dead

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A remote Afghanistan village was deemed a mass grave after local officials reported nearly 2500 villagers were buried alive and there was no hope of finding any survivors buried alive in the catastrophic mudslide.

     
  • World News: Greta Thunberg Challenges French Leaders on Climate Change, Receives Chilly Welcome

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Greta Thunberg continues to upset the global ecological discourse by returning leaders and politicians to their responsibilities. But would not the teenager not the symbol of a lack of international voluntarism in environmental matters?

     
  • Puerto Vallarta’s Casa Dos Cisnes offers a Culinary Cultural Immersion for Foodie-Forward Travelers

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Whether for adventure travel or more relaxing respites, travelers are increasingly seeking regionally-authentic itineraries that offer an intimate view of local cultures with trends of being "connoisseurs of local culture" reportedly on the rise.

     
  • Tiny House Cooking Book Review – Well Planned Small and Hearty Gourmet Meals (Recipes)

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Tiny House Cooking, from Simon and Schuster with foreword from Tiny Home specialist Ryan Mitchell, presents a kitchen tool for those ready to minimize space, live simpler, condense everything and still enjoy a grand gourmand meal.

     
  • Macy’s Annual Thanksgiving Eve Inflation Party Draws Thousands

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Macy's Thanksgiving Eve inflation party, on Manhattan's tony Upper West Side, drew thousands to witness this traditional pre-holiday celebration where the real stars of the Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Macy’s Balloons, are given the royal treatment by dedicated volunteers.

     
  • The Birth of a Nation Review – Powerful, Mesmerizing, Absorbing, A Triumph

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Birth of a Nation, from Fox Searchlight Pictures, presents a powerful depiction of the true story of a literate slave, gifted by God, and the dominating satanic influences that are the catalyst behind an uprising that results in a stand for freedom.

     
  • Playing with Fire Review – A Rollicking, Laugh out Loud, Uproarious Good Time

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Playing with Fire, from Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon Media and Walden Media, brings to the screen a comedic drama that has the toughest smoke-jumpers totally unprepared for the toughest assignment they will ever face that of babysitters.

     
  • The Hungry Heart - Lessons from a Life Lived

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Hungry Heart, a weight modification program, developed to help individuals shackled to eating patterns that bind them to emotional overeating and yo-yo dieting, offers a caring approach to conquering binge and emotional eating habits.

     
  • ROOM Review – A Riveting, Challenging, Triumph Over Tragedy Story

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    ROOM, from A24, brings to the screen a gripping tale, woven together straight from the headlines with challenging circumstances, a story of hope against all odds, of survival, of reentry, of remembering and discovering, of birth, death and rebirth.

     
  • Tribute and Damage - Have We Lost Sight of the Lessons of History

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The end of the celebrations of the centenary of the First World War have passed and does not leave without questioning the relations, the interactions, of the French to History. And if they had simply changed?

     
  • Celebrity Interview: Kim Basinger and Anders Morgenthaler Talk On The Journey Making The 11th Hour

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Kim Basinger is a chameleon; in addition to an established talent, an Oscar Winner, she is spontaneous, and still after her Hollywood journey has an honest quality that allows her to throw back her head and laugh with abandon.