From a medical standpoint, Oman is a safe and healthy country to visit. There is an extensive network of healthcare facilities throughout the country excluding some remote areas in the desert and mountains. Should you require medical assistance there are clinics and pharmacies in many cities and towns.
In all liklihood, the arid tropical climate of Oman will be quite different from the one you came from. If you are not used to traveling in a desert environment, these helpful tips will come in handy.
Although the tap water in Oman is drinkable, most people prefer to drink the many brands of bottled mineral water available in shops and supermarkets.
For six months of the year Oman experiences moderate, comfortable temperatures. However, the summer months from April to October can be a bit daunting to the first time visitor. While you are in the sun, wear light-colored, lightweight clothing which covers as much skin as possible. Fabrics such as cotton and linen are good choices. Clothes should fit loosely for maximum comfort; this will also help prevent chafing and heat rash. Wear a loose-fitting, light-colored hat with a wide brim.
During the summer months, use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or more, and reapply it if you swim or perspire. Check the label to make sure your sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB exposure. Remember to apply sunscreen to ears and neck, and to use lip protection as well. If choosing sunscreen for a child, select one without PABA. This ingredient can cause rashes or other problems.
Try not to spend too much time outdoors between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun is strongest. Be extra careful about sun exposure if you are taking medication. Many common over-the-counter and prescription drugs such as antihistamines and oral contraceptives increase photosensitivity (and your risk of burning). Check the labels of all your medications for information on side effects, or ask your health care provider or pharmacist if there are precautions you should follow.
Ultraviolet radiation from the sun increases your risk of cataracts. When sunlight is very strong, consider wearing sunglasses that have side shields and block 92-97% of visible light. Increase your intake of fluids. Stay in air-conditioned rooms and vehicles when possible
Depending on your itinerary, your personal risk factors, and the length of your visit, your health care provider may offer you vaccination against hepatitis A, typhoid, hepatitis B, or a one-time polio booster if you haven't previously received one for travel. Routine immunizations, such as those that prevent tetanus/diphtheria or "childhood" diseases, should be reviewed and updated as needed.
Malaria is no longer the scourge it once was due to effective preventive measures taken by the Ministry of Health. Today malaria is found in some regions of the country with high humidity and dense vegetation, but it is unlikely that you will come into contact with the anopheles mosquito that spreads the disease. Malaria prophylaxis is available at most pharmacies if you wish to take it.
In case of medical emergency, you will have to rely on your own means to get to a hospital or clinic as there is no ambulance service available in the country as yet. If you are injured or incapacitated the ROP (Royal Oman Police) will offer assistance.
In emergencies dial 999 for Police assistance. Those with medical conditions (e.g., diabetes) should wear medical alert tags and carry a list of generic names of medications related to their condition. If you have a condition requiring injections, bring your own supply of needles and syringes. Carry a letter from your doctor explaining your medical need. If injected medications are advised, ask if there is an oral formulation that you can take instead. If injections are necessary, insist on individually wrapped, disposable needles.
Many pharmacies offer round the clock service and provide a variety of prescription and over the counter drugs. Check the local newspaper or the English speaking evening news on TV for pharmacies on rotational 24 hour duty. Opticians and optometrists are readily available in the capital area and maintain regular business hours.