Specific Issues in Dubai

There are no serious endemic health risks to be worried about in Dubai, though the heat and strong sun are major concerns. Weather from June through September is very hot (over 100ºF.) and humidity can increase the perceived temperature. Even evening temperatures at this time are extreme, and so the elderly and infirm should try to stay within air-conditioned areas as much as possible. Dubai is malaria-free, but there are still mosquitoes. Antimosquito creams and sprays are widely available.

Tap water is safe to drink, but it is desalinated, and so many prefer to drink the local bottled spring or groundwater. There is not a great risk of becoming ill after eating or drinking contaminated food, but as with all countries, if you have a sensitive stomach stick with recommended restaurants.

If you are unfortunate enough to fall ill, doctors and nurses here speak English. Your hotel should have the name of a doctor who can be called to your room if necessary, and walk-in clinics and hospitals are around the city. Costs can be high, so it's important to have health insurance coverage for your trip.

Over-the-Counter Remedies

Many drugs that can be bought over the counter in the U.S. are restricted in the UAE and cannot be imported into the country without a prescription. These include codeine, acetaminophen (Tylenol), dextromethorphan (found in decongestants), isotretinoin (found in acne treatments), and prochlorperazine maleate (for nausea and vomiting). Prescription drugs for depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and hormone replacement and control are only available with a prescription from a local doctor, and you must show your passport at the pharmacy to purchase these. Most basic medication and others such as some migraine tablets and antibiotics are available without prescription.

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