How to Stay Healthy While Traveling in Oman

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Can you drink tap water in Oman? From MERS to medical facilities, find out how to stay healthy and practice good hygiene while traveling in this gulf country.

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Traveler walking in a canyon in Oman Photo © Getty Images/photography by Ulrich Hollmann

Medical treatment in Oman

Oman has good public and private medical facilities, however this can vary as you travel further from urban centers and the cost can be expensive. Before you travel make sure you have travel insurance with adequate medical treatment coverage including medical evacuation.

If you do need medical services and lack insurance coverage, you may be prevented from leaving the country until your bill is paid in full.

If you need to take medications while you travel, take what you need from home as it may not be available in Oman. Check that your medications are legal with the Omani embassy in your country, as some medicines you take at home may be considered illegal overseas. Always carry a doctors letter outlining dosage, purpose and that the medication for personal use only.

Mosquito-borne diseases in Oman

Warm temperatures and climate in Oman make it an ideal place for diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and leishmaniasis to flourish, particularly on the Musandam Peninsula. Take general precautions such as covering up in long sleeved clothing, applying insect repellent on exposed skin and sleeping under a mosquito net. For tips on bite prevention, read this

MERS in Oman

Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), also known as camel flu, is a viral respiratory illness that was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. This strain of virus is zoonotic, which means it is transmitted between animals and people. People are infected through direct or indirect contact with infected dromedary camels. It doesn’t pass easily between people, unless there is close contact.

Cases have been reported in Oman, and there is no vaccination available. If you plan to visit farms, take a camel ride or visit any other places where camels may be, you should wash your hands before and after touching any animal. Avoid consuming unpasteurized camel products such as milk, and make sure all camel meat is thoroughly cooked before eating.

As borders begin to open post COVID-19 lockdown, and government travel advisories lift travel bans on their citizens, what can you do to lower your risk? Check out our tips for safe travel during the pandemic.

Heat related illnesses

The most common health problem travelers get caught out with in Oman is the heat. For people not used to such temperatures (129°F (54°C) is common especially in the summer months), it's very easy to become dehydrated, sunburnt, or experience heatstroke.

Be sensible and stay out of the sun as much as possible. Use sunscreen and make sure you drink plenty of water. A warning sign of dehydration and heatstroke is a headache that increases in severity starting at the temples and behind the eye sockets. If you experience that, get out of the heat, start drinking more water and electrolytes.

Can I drink tap water in Oman?

The water quality in Oman is good most of the time, but you may see locals drinking bottled water. If you're unsure and worried about water-borne diseases, stick to boiled or treated water. Avoid ice cubes unless you know they are from a safe source and avoid raw, undercooked food and unpasturized milk products.

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