Singapore’s tropical climate and hot, humid weather conditions contribute to the prevalence of colds and allergies, influenza, viral fevers, allergic rhinitis, sinusitis, bronchitis, asthma, skin problems, and musculoskeletal problems. As most public places are well air-conditioned, residents are subject to wide temperature fluctuations which may exacerbate health problems.
Singapore’s high-pressure work environment also gives rise to a number of stress-related illnesses and conditions, including insomnia, hypertension, depression, and sexual and fertility problems.
Dengue fever, a mosquito-borne illness resulting in painful fevers, extreme fatigue, and sometimes even death, garners widespread attention in Singapore, and the government regularly inspects homes to prevent the conditions that allow for mosquito breeding. In June 2013 cases of Dengue fever were on the rise and the government issued a health warning. For up to date information about the latest developments, see the National Environment Agency’s Dengue Fever Website.
Another common virus that afflicts infants and children under 10 year of age is Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD), a mild but highly contagious infection spread from person to person through close contact with infected respiratory secretions or contaminated surfaces. As a result, children in childcare centers are particularly susceptible to outbreaks of HFMD. Symptoms include fever, sore throat, loss of appetite, painful ulcers in the mouth, and a spotty rash on the hands and feet. HFMD is not related to Foot-and-Mouth disease found in farm animals, and humans are generally immune after a single infection.
Food safety is not a significant health risk, though it is advisable to be wary of foods that have been left out in the heat.
The SARS outbreak of 2004 was completely terminated, and no recurrence of the disease has since occurred.
The only vaccination certificate required for Singapore is yellow fever and this is only required if you have been in a country where yellow fever is endemic within the six days immediately proceeding your arrival. Consult the list of Yellow Fever Endemic countries to check the requirements. The certificate will need to be produced at immigration and will be valid for ten years.
Children below the age of 2 must have vaccinations for the following diseases.
- Hepatitis B
- Measles, Mumps & Rubella (Taken by children when they are 12)
Adults have no additional vaccinations recommended. However, it is strongly recommended that you are vaccinated against Hepatitis A and B.
In recent years air pollution from forest fires in Indonesia has become an increasing problem and in 2013 the air quality in Singapore reached an all-time low. Referred to locally as “haze”, this pollution can be very dangerous to young children and the elderly. It only hits Singapore for a very brief period and it is unpredictable, but when the haze does strike many expats leave the country. You can find the latest status of the air quality index here.