Specific Issues in Oman
Oman is a very clean country. Tap water is safe to drink, and food hygiene laws are strict, so most travelers will face no major health risks other than dehydration. Especially during the summer months it is essential to drink at least 2 liters of water per day, more if you are spending time in the direct sunlight or in the desert. Using sunblock is also advisable, and it is widely available in the hypermarkets. Mosquitoes and little sand fleas come out on the beaches in the winter when it isn't so hot, so bug spray can make for a more comfortable trip, but serious mosquito-based illnesses are quite rare.
Medical Insurance and Assistance
Consider buying trip insurance with medical-only coverage. Neither Medicare nor some private insurers cover medical expenses anywhere outside of the United States. Medical-only policies typically reimburse you for medical care (excluding that related to preexisting conditions) and hospitalization abroad, and provide for evacuation. You still have to pay the bills and await reimbursement from the insurer, though. Another option is to sign up with a medical-evacuation assistance company, which requires a membership fee rather than a simple per-trip charge. A membership in one of these companies gets you doctor referrals, emergency evacuation or repatriation, 24-hour hotlines for medical consultation, and other assistance. International SOS Assistance Emergency and AirMed International provide evacuation services and medical referrals. MedjetAssist offers medical evacuation.
Medical Assistance Companies
AirMed International. 800/356–2161; 205/443–4840; www.airmed.com.
International SOS. Apartment 11, 268 Building, 18 November Street, Muscat, Masqat. 2412 8214; 4/601 8777 ; www.internationalsos.com.
MedjetAssist. 800/527–7478; 205/595–6626; medjetassist.com.
International Medical Group. 317/655–4500; 800/628–4664 ; www.imglobal.com.
Wallach & Company. 800/237–6615 ; 540/687–3166 ; www.wallach.com.
Shots and Medications
The CDC recommends that you ensure your routine vaccinations are up to day, including Hep A shots. They also recommend typhoid immunization, though many doctors say the risk is so minimal that it does not warrant the potential side effects of this vaccine. People visiting from countries at particularly high risk for yellow fever must show their yellow fever immunization record. But there are no specific recommendations for Oman.
National Centers for Disease Control & Prevention . 800/232-4636; wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel.
World Health Organization. www.who.int.
There are many pharmacies throughout Muscat, and there is almost always an English-speaking Indian pharmacist there to assist you with finding the right medication, though it may not be the name brand you are used to. If you have a preference, bring your own over the counter medication with you.