How to Stay Healthy While Traveling in Oman

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Health care in Oman is generally good however mosquito borne diseases and the heat are health hazards travelers need to consider while traveling in this gulf country.


Photo © GettyImages/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 can 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

Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome

Also known as camel flu, this viral disease was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Not much is known about its transmission however scientific studies show that dromedary camels are a likely host. It doesn’t pass easily between humans unless close contact occurs e.g health care.

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.

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 the Local Water?

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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