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Health Risks, Inoculations, Vaccinations and Health Certificates

United Arab Emirates (UAE) - Health Risks, Inoculations, Vaccinations and Health Certificates

Whether visiting for a holiday or a longer stay the UAE can cause health issues but with some careful planning and being sensible while there some of these problems, if not all, can be avoided.

Food and drink are the biggest cause of upset tummies, so take care where and what you eat and drink. Salads rinsed in tap water and ice made with tap water are often the culprits in these cases. The water for the UAE comes from the sea and goes through desalination plants and in certain areas is safe to drink but most people drink filtered or bottled water to be on the safe side.

We all know we shouldn’t stay out in the hot sun but we all do it. Heatstroke and sunburn are everyday occurrences at the local hospitals as the temptation to soak up those beautiful rays outweighs common sense. Sunscreens applied often will help but use a high factor and break your skin in gently, especially if you are not used to the heat. Insect bites can be extremely irritating and if you are one of the ones that never get bitten, be grateful! Mosquito nets and insect repellents do help but nothing will ever keep all the little blighters away if they are determined.


Before you travel it is worth making sure that your basic inoculations are current. MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), DTaP/IPV/Hib (polio, whooping cough, diphtheria, tetanus and influenza type B). Not routine but recommended in the basic group are chicken pox and a yearly flu vaccine.

There are other more specialist vaccines that are recommended for travel to the UAE:

Typhoid - Contaminated water or food is the usual cause of typhoid particularly if you are planning on visiting rural villages or trying the food in more out of the way restaurants.

Hepatitis A - Hepatitis A is also caught through contaminated water and food and can be picked up no matter where you are staying or eating.

Hepatitis B - If you are planning on getting a tattoo or piercing, having any medical treatment or sex with a new partner to be on the safe side get vaccinated, Hepatitis B is caught from sexual contact and contaminated needles and blood products.


Rabies can be caught from infected mammals, bats and dogs but it doesn’t pose a risk to most people. If part of your trip will involve working with animals, travelling in the more remote areas for adventure holidays and caving then rabies is advisable.

In 2012 a virus called “Middle East Respiratory System Coronavirus” (MERS-CoV) was discovered in the Arabian Peninsula and is the cause of respiratory illness. You are advised to see a doctor if a fever develops with a cough or shortness of breath.

Health certificate

A medical check-up has to be taken as part of the initial visa application for anyone planning to live and /or work in UAE. A further test has to be taken for a renewal of the visa. Failing the check-up will mean being deported. If you wish to drive in the UAE a driver screening test is necessary consisting of a physical examination and a blood test. The UAE Federal Law makes these screening tests compulsory to maintain a healthy community and protect against infectious diseases.

Read more about this country

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

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