KLM Blog

Didi Aaftink and Noud Schel, medical doctors for KLM Health Services, blog regularly about travel and health issues for KLM blog.

Didi AaftinkI, Didi Aaftink, have been with KLM Health Services since 2006 as an occupational health physician. I joined the international department in 2010 and am responsible for managing the international medical care and doctors network for crews, expats and local staff in the Asia region. Before coming to KLM Health Services, I worked as an occupational physician for a wide range of international companies. I lived and worked abroad for many years. Besides Occupational Health, I am also specialised in aviation medicine, travel medicine and emergency medicine. Noud SchelI, Noud Schel, work as a medical doctor for KLM Health Services. My job is very diverse and ranges from counseling travelers and expats on vaccinations and performing medical check-ups to informing flight crew on health issues abroad and the work-related risks of disease. At KLM Health Services, I’m responsible for the health of expats and airline crew in Africa and the Middle-East. You can read the blogs below.

Our reasons for travelling are diverse – business, visiting friends and relatives, attending a wedding, or maybe just a holiday you’ve been looking forward to for so long. Everything is arranged for your upcoming trip and flight. Then, just a few days before departure you discover you’re pregnant! Will flying be dangerous, whether for yourself or the unborn child? Are there health risks associated? Read more about pregnancy and travelling.

The countdown to the Olympic Games has begun. Very soon, thousands of athletes will start travelling to Rio de Janeiro in the hope of giving a record performance to the cheers of tens of thousands of fans. Are you planning to go to Rio? If so, please read these tips. Many illnesses are easy to prevent if you get the right vaccinations or take the necessary precautions. Are you travelling to Brazil? Ten health tips.

Soon the holiday season will again be upon us and the numbers of leisure travellers descending on our airports will peak. You know the feeling all too well: excitement; finally having the time to make a journey you’ve looked forward to; visiting relatives in far-off countries; a long-awaited hiking break; or even just some quality time to read a good book…. Whatever, it’s a well-earned opportunity to cross off something nice from your ‘to do’ list! Read more: blog meanwhile at KLM.

As a doctor at KLM Health Services, I regularly get questions about diseases transmitted by mosquitos. The Zika virus is a hot topic right now, and there’s Chikungunya and Dengue, but let’s not forget malaria, which affects 219 million people annually, resulting in 660,000 deaths. This is tragic considering that there a simple measures ensuring that travellers can prevent malaria when visiting high-risk destinations. Read more

Pressure and pain in your ears during a flight can be extremely annoying, even painful. And almost as unpleasant is having to wait another 12 hours, or longer, before being able to hear normally again. I’d like to give you some background information on this phenomenon, as well as some tips and tricks on how to prevent it, or minimise its effects. Read more

KLM Health Services, the VU Medical Centre (VUmc) and KLM joined forces in 2006 within the scope of the Doctor 2 Doctor project. The project aims to promote the transfer of knowledge between two university hospitals in the Netherlands and Kenya. In practice, it’s mainly a question of transferring knowledge from VUmc to the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret. The hospital, located in northern Kenya is the biggest in the region, inhabited by around 12 million people. Read more

Travellers often ask me how to deal with mosquitoes and protect themselves from possible diseases transmitted by them. Good question, because an estimated 700 million people are infected with diseases transmitted by mosquitoes every year, resulting in more than a million deaths. Before giving you a few tips on how to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, let’s take some time to learn a little more about them, and their feeding habits. Read more

The holiday season is almost upon us and families, many with children, will be looking forward to their annual summer holiday. One of the most annoying things you can encounter when travelling is vomiting or diarrhea that’s either due to travelling itself, or even worse, possible food poisoning. Read more

Assuming you can refer to them as such, here are three of my “favourite” vaccinations. The first is one of the oldest vaccinations still in use, the second is a vaccination against one of the most serious diseases on the planet and the third is a vaccination against a very elusive virus. Read more

Dealing with jetlag is one of the ultimate challenges for frequent flyers. Even if you’re only away for a few days – whether it be for business or pleasure – jetlag can keep you up at night and feeling drowsy during the day. But what exactly happens to your body when you experience jetlag? And what can you do about it? Read more

What happens if you sprain your ankle flying over the Sahara? Or if you come down with a stomach-flu while crossing the Atlantic? Of course our cabin crew can tend to minor injuries with bandages and aspirin, as you would expect, but did you know that all KLM cabin crew complete first-aid training? There is a lot more medical equipment aboard our aircraft than you might think. Here’s an overview. Read more 

It may seem strange, but KLM also has their own doctors. At KLM Health Services, to be precise. They advise on all travel- and workrelated health issues abroad. You should think of vaccinations, prevention of malaria, general hygiene, and what to do if you get sick abroad. I am one of these doctors. Read more