Oman Health Care and Vaccinations
* A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers arriving from an infected area.
Oman has an extensive public health service (free to Omani nationals), with many hospitals and health centres. Standards are generally comparable to those in the UK although treatment varies according to the location. Hospital emergency treatment is available. Health insurance is essential. Visitors who cannot pay for their treatment may be prevented from leaving the country until the debt is paid. In an emergency, call the ambulance and fire services on 999.
Travellers are urged to seek medical advice before travelling to Oman and to ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up-to-date. Further information on vaccination requirements, health outbreaks and general disease protection and prevention can be obtained from NHS Direct (tel: 0845 4647, in the UK) or from the websites of the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC - www.nathnac.org/travel) or NHS Scotland’s Fit For Travel (www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk).
The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office advises that you should practise safe sex and take precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS. In the 2010 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic, the UN AIDS/WHO Working Group estimated that 1,100 adults aged 15 or over in Oman were living with HIV; a prevalence percentage of 0.1% compared to 0.2% in the UK.
While in Oman, it is important to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration in the hot climate. You should use high-factor sunscreens and avoid sunbathing between the hours of 1100 and 1500 when the sun is at its hottest.
Food and Drink
While tap water is generally safe to drink, most Omanis drink bottled water and this is widely available. You can safely drink carbonated drinks in cans and bottles. Outside the capital area and main towns, you should boil or sterilise water used for drinking, brushing teeth or making ice. Use iodine tablets and portable water filters to purify water if bottled water is not available. Avoid ice cubes in your drinks.
Food bought in the main supermarkets can be regarded as safe. Outside the capital area, milk may be unpasteurised and if so, should be boiled. Powdered or tinned milk is available and is advised. Avoid dairy products unless you know they have been pasteurised. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled.
It is advisable to avoid food and drinks bought from street vendors. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially before eating. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand gel.
Vaccinations against tuberculosis and hepatitis B are sometimes recommended, the latter particularly for those who might be exposed to blood or body fluids, may have sexual contact with locals or be exposed through medical treatment ie, for an accident. There have been cases of malaria in the enclave of Musandam, but it is extremely rare.
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