5 practical things you should do to protect your health in Singapore

By: Osler Health International
Posted on: 4 Jul 2022

If you have recently relocated to Singapore, we understand that you may be getting so many other things in life organised, that there is no time to prioritise your health. Here are five practical tips to help you protect your health on this sunny tropical island.

1. Stay hydrated and wear sunblock

Located near the equator, Singapore has a tropical climate throughout the year with uniformly high temperatures and no distinct seasons. So, staying hydrated is the most effective way to protect yourself from the scorching heat in Singapore. The recommended fluid intake is about 3.7 litres a day for men and 2.7 litres a day for women. However, keep in mind that that’s just a guideline – you would need to drink more water if you are exercising, perspiring profusely, pregnant or breastfeeding, or ill.

Apart from staying hydrated, don’t forget to apply sunblock before you head outdoors. Due to Singapore’s proximity to the equator, Singapore experiences “high” to “very high” levels of UV radiation, averaging around 6 to 9 on the UV Index. The UV Index (UVI) is an international standard index that measures the level of solar UV radiation on the earth’s surface. There are two main types of UV rays: UVA and UVB. Being exposed to a higher index value could cause damage to skin cell DNA, eventually leading to skin cancer. To protect yourself against harmful UVA and UVB rays, it is crucial to apply a broad-spectrum, SPF 50 sunscreen 20 minutes before heading out.

2. Get vaccinated

Even though Singapore has excellent sanitary conditions, it is recommended to stay up-to-date with routine vaccinations, including:

  • Diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis
  • Polio 
  • Measles, mumps and rubella
  • Hepatitis B 
  • BCG 
  • Pneumococcal 
  • COVID-19

You may also want to consider the following vaccinations, which are specific to living in the tropics (especially if you plan on travelling in the region):

  • Typhoid 
  • Hepatitis A 
  • Influenza 
  • Japanese encephalitis 
  • Rabies 
  • Dengue

Please speak with a doctor at any of our clinics in Singapore for further travel vaccination advice.

3. Be aware of infected bites

With Singapore’s hot and humid climate, it can be easy for bites, cuts and scratches to get infected. Here are the signs to look out for: 

  • An extended area of redness and swelling around the bite 
  • Pus 
  • Pain 
  • A feeling of warmth around the bite 
  • Fever and chills 
  • Sores or abscesses on or around the bite 
  • Swollen lymph nodes

If you notice any of the above signs, please see a doctor immediately to prevent the infection from worsening. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotic ointments or oral antibiotics depending on the severity of the infection.

4. Integrate into the community

Living in a new country away from family and friends can feel lonely and take a toll on your mental health. Studies have shown that establishing connections with the community can have positive effects on mental health and emotional well-being. Hence, we recommend integrating into the community by joining clubs and associations like the Australian and New Zealand Association (ANZA), the American Association of Singapore and the British Association of Singapore, where you can meet and befriend other members. Consider picking up a social sport offered at the clubs and associations, which not only allows you to socialise but also stay active. You may also consider getting involved with your child’s school activities, such as joining the parent council or volunteering.

5. Get enough sleep 

Finally, make sure to get sufficient sleep every night. Getting a whole night’s sleep offers a myriad of proven health benefits, including improved moods, heart health, blood glucose regulation, mental well-being and immunity. Healthy adults are recommended to get between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Establish a regular sleep routine and minimise distractions from electronic devices like mobile phones and laptops half an hour before bed to ensure a good night’s sleep.

If you have any health concerns please know that our international doctors are here to support you and your family.

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