Q&A (UHC Instagram)

  1. What is effective handwashing?
    A: To help eliminate traces of the viruses and germs on your hands, a quick scrub and a rinse won’t cut it..Visit http://nus.edu.sg/uhc/ to learn the proper way on how to wash your hands.

  2. How should I store my hand care products?
    A:Store and use products according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

    Hand care products, including plain soap and antiseptic products, can become contaminated or support the growth of microorganisms when it is not used properly.

    Liquid products should be stored in closed containers and dispensed from either disposable containers or containers that are washed and dried thoroughly before refilling.

  3. Is it essential to dry my hand after washing?
    A: Viruses and germs spread more easily from wet skin as opposed to dry skin, so drying your hands completely is an important step. Paper towels are the most effective way to remove germs without spreading them to other surfaces.

  4. How do I use a hand sanitiser effectively?

    • Dispense the recommended amount of product
    • Apply product to the palm of one hand
    • Rub hands together, making sure that all surfaces of hands and fingers are covered until they are dry (no rinsing is required)
  5. Is there an expiry date for hand sanitisers?
    A: Yes, hand sanitisers usually expire about 3 years from the manufacture date. As the alcohol content dissolves over time, it may not be as effective once it drops below 60%.

  6. Are hand sanitisers really effective against COVID-19? 
    A: The best way to prevent the spread of infections and decrease the risk of getting sick is by washing your hands with plain soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    Use alcohol-based hand sanitisers that contains at least 60% alcohol only when soap and water is not available.

  7. If I have sore throat, no fever and no cough. Should I see a doctor?
    A: Yes, you are advised to consult a doctor if this symptom continues. Under this current climate, Individuals with mild flu-like symptoms such as cough, runny nose, sore throat, fever are advised to seek medical attention to rule out any concerns.

  8. I heard we need to increase our immunity to help us fight COVID-19. To do so, we need to get enough Vitamin C. As far as I know, we only need 100-200mg of Vitamin C but why supplements are sold in 500-2000mg dose? Do we really need that to prevent getting sick?

    A: While vitamins may be a useful supplement, excessive dependence of it is discouraged and may be detrimental. Do check with your family doctor regarding the types of supplements that are beneficial for your health. That said, the best source of vitamins is from your diet. Regular exercise/workouts are also a good alternative to build your immunity.

  9. Is occasional coughing/dry throat a cause of concern and should a person with this symptom see a doctor?

    A: Occasional cough or dry throat is normal. Perhaps a glass of warm water would help. However, if the symptom persists, please consult with your GP for a thorough diagnosis.

  10. Heard that individuals with a diagnosed history of the virus, there will be a sequelae to their lungs. Is that true?

    A: It is still early to assess the long term effects it will pose to individuals who have recovered. More research is needed to examine the extent of lung damage or scarring COIVD-19 may have on recovered individuals.

  11. There was a patient identified as a suspected case during my visit to a clinic. Should I be worried to be in the same consultation room after this patient?

    A: The risk of infection from transient contacts, such as in public places, is low. Additionally, medical facilities such as clinics have in place a thorough disinfection process which helps in lowering such risks.
    Source: https://www.moh.gov.sg/covid-19/clarifications 

  12. My child has a phlegmy cough today but he is still very active. Should I monitor him while self-medicating him for the time being or bring him to our GP immediately?

    A: For children, it is fine to monitor and self-medicate for a few days. If it persists, worsens or if he develops a fever, you should seek professional medical help.

  13. There was a rise of my temperature of 36.6 to 37.3 for two days. Should I see a doctor?

    A: Normal temperature readings of an adult vary within a range and may fluctuate on different factors including gender and age, time of day, type of activities you may have undertaken or even the mode of measurement.
    If you are unsure of the sudden change and are experiencing higher temperatures than normal, do consult with your nearest family doctor.

  14. Is there any way to know if I'm an asymptomatic carrier?

    A: There is no testing equipment for asymptomatic infections at this point. While there are current suggestions of asymptomatic infections, there is no literature indicating how transmission occurs while an individual is pre- or asymptomatic. For any coronaviruses, it has been suggested that the incubation period may range between two to fourteen days. However, the duration of infectiousness of COVID-19 is currently unknown.

  15. Should I refrain from using the pool?

    A: According to NEA, there is no evidence to prove that COVID-19 can be transmitted via swimming pools.
    The management of the premises is required to conduct daily testing of the pool water for pH and disinfectant levels and maintain a regular cleansing regime to ensure that the water quality complies with the Environmental Public Health (Swimming Pools) Regulations at all times.
    The public is advised to observe good personal hygiene practices and if you’re unwell, please avoid using the pool. Aside from that, you can refer to the link provided which suggested that you can go ahead with swimming as well.

  16. Should the people around an individual who is coughing without a mask on?

    A: An individual may cough for varying reasons and it may not be related to the virus. While it is understandable that you are worried, your personal precautions which you have taken, such as social distancing and donning of the face mask would help in such situations. Additionally, inform your GP of your experience and he/she will know how to manage.

  17. The likelihood of a smoker contracting the virus is higher. Is that true?

    A: Currently, there is no evidence to support this. However, any individual with weakened or compromised lung functions is generally at higher risk to respiratory infections. What is more important to note is, regardless of COVID-19, smoking in general has a negative health impact and giving up smoking now, more than ever, will improve your chances of remaining healthy.

  18. My brother just returned from Japan a few days ago and is currently serving his Stay-Home Notice. What are the precautionary measures I should take since we are live under the same roof.

    A: If you have been issued a Stay-Home Notice or are feeling unwell, ensure the following steps are taken to protect your family members and loved ones.
    Avoid: Separate yourself from other people at home. Including and where possible: using separate rooms, beds and bathrooms. avoid sharing personal household items including crockery, eating utensils and towels. Wash these items thoroughly after every use.

    - proper ventilation within the apartment - intervals between toilet use instead of using it immediately after your brother, if using separate bathrooms is not an option.

    Reduce any possible spread within the household by:
    - cleaning and disinfecting common and frequently used surfaces. These may include door knobs, counter tops, remote controls and phones. - practicing social responsibility even at home. Use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing - practicing personal hygiene by washing your hands regularly - monitoring your temperate regularly

  19. What is the difference between a Stay-Home Notice (SHN) and Leave of Absence (LoA)?

    A: SHN:
    Individuals served with a Stay-Home Notice (SHN) are required to remain at their place of residence at all times and avoid any contact with visitors. SHNs are stricter than LoA in regulatory compliance. Individuals issued with SHN are monitored by both the government and NUS.

    Leaves of absence (LoA) are not mandatory and the appeal to social responsibility is served as firm reminders to individuals who are issued with such notices. Minimal physical contact should be maintained but they are however, allowed to leave their house to purchase daily necessities or to attend to important personal matters. Random checks will be done for staff or students issued with an LoA .

  20. A new research in China says that the virus may be airborne (case study of a bus in China). Is it true?

    A: How COVID-19 is transmitted is still not fully known. Currently there is no conclusive evidence that it is airborne. From our understanding of other coronaviruses, multiple modes of transmissions are likely at play, including droplets and contaminated hands. Hence importance of good personal hygiene.

  21. Can you suggest places to buy masks/gloves for protection? What type of masks are useful?

    A: Normal surgical masks tend to prevent larger droplets of bodily fluids from escaping through the nose or mouth. It also prevents sprays of coughs and sneezes from others, while N95 masks were designed to protect one from both small and large particles. For N95 masks to be effective, a professional fit test is required.

    Regardless of the type of mask, it is important to note that while masks are generally used to prevent further spread of infection, it is only effective when accompanied with good hand hygiene, proper wearing and disposal of it.

    It is recommended that masks should only be worn if you are feeling unwell or caring for someone who is unwell.

    Similarly, gloves will not increase the prevention of spread and should not be used as a substitute from washing and keeping your hands clean. In fact, it may be counterproductive for individuals who are prone to touching their face frequently. Like masks, the proper disposal of gloves is equally necessary.

    You may check pharmacies at NUH, Guardian or Watson's for availability. You can refer to MOH’s website for advisory on wearing a mask: https://www.moh.gov.sg/docs/librariesprovider5/2019-ncov/english_advisory-on-wearing-masks.pdf 

  22. Any test will be done to check for COVID-19 before the donated blood will be used for transfusion?

    A: Stringent measures are in place and all donors will have to undergo an eligibility check. With the recent COVID-19 situation, added measures specific to this virus have also been undertaken. These include travel declarations and health screening processes before any blood donation is permitted. Individuals with a diagnosed history of the virus are discouraged from blood donations.
    You may refer to the Health Sciences Authority website for more details: https://www.hsa.gov.sg/blood-donation/can-i-donate 

  23. Will this virus eventually mutate?  

    A: The virus is mutating and may possibly occur in either of the following scenarios:

    1. 1. It will mutate into a milder form, stabilise and subsequently develop to something less threatening; or 
    2. 2. It could mutate into a more aggressive form that spreads quicker or leads to a more severe disease. 

    - https://sph.nus.edu.sg/2020/02/covid-19-transmission-more-similar-to-h1n1-threat-may-erode-with-time/ 

  24. I had influenza (flu) vaccination this year, will I be protected from COVID-19? 

    A: The flu vaccine will not prevent you from getting COVID-19. The flu vaccine is designed to fight against influenza viruses, which are different from coronaviruses. That said, getting your annual flu jab is always beneficial in reducing your risk from the seasonal flu. Additionally, with lesser people coming down with the flu, there will also be a lesser need for individuals visiting clinics and hospitals.  This can help in reducing the current medical load and identify individuals appropriately with COVID-19 as many of its symptoms overlap with influenza.

  25. There is a sudden surge of COVID-19 cases in some countries. Why is that so? 
    A: This can occur with varying contributing reasons. For instance, a community spread can occur when an individual has travelled from a country with a high infection count. Also, the increased availability of testing kits has led to better detection, adding to the increased numbers.

  26. I would like to know if the virus be able to survive in Swimming pool with chlorine water?

    A: According to NEA, there is no evidence to prove that COVID-19 can be transmitted via swimming pools.

    The management of the premises are required to conduct daily testing of the pool water for pH and disinfectant levels and maintain a regular cleansing regime to ensure that the water quality complies with the Environmental Public Health (Swimming Pools) Regulations at all times.

    The public is advised to observe good personal hygiene practices and if you’re unwell, please avoid using the pool.

    Aside from that, you can refer to the video link (from 1:00 minute onwards) provided which suggested that you can go ahead with swimming as well.

    - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W01rHTNcwtk&feature=share&fbclid=IwAR2gYToLMPI2PN5u3-C6Fc-HhPC4RiLr8npikmEMEbhjEiIWbQXezA2HYYY

  27. Any test will be done before the donated blood will be used for transfusion?  

    A: Yes, definitely. According to Health Science Authority, all donors will be carefully screened for eligibility before blood donation. Blood collected will be processed and tested as well before usage for blood transfusion.


  28. Is it normal to have dry mouth when you’re sick e.g sore throat?
    A: Yes. Dry mouth when ill is quite common. There are various reasons for that. Sore throat can lead to reduced fluid intake and dry mouth may be a symptom of dehydration or a blocked nose may cause mouth breathing, with consequent dryness of mouth.

  29. Is it true that washing clothes with hot water and drying it under the sun kills germs, bacteria and even viruses?

    A: Water temperature around 60 – 70 degree Celsius does help. However, do remember to check the laundry care symbols on your clothes before any wash. If not, high heat drying or exposure to the sun helps too.

  30. Should I avoid wet markets as well since I heard that the virus was first transmitted in a market in Wuhan?

    A: The transmission of the virus at the Wuhan market was believed to be due to the presence of live wild animals for sale. In Singapore, there is no trade of wild animals and all our poultry are prepared at the abattoir. However, do observe your personal hygiene when dealing with raw foods. Always wash your hands with soap and water after.

  31. Are we at risk of the virus when we are in an enclosed air-conditioned space such as a lecture hall or office for long hours?

    A: The best way to prevent an infection is to responsibly observe social and personal hygiene. If you are unwell, wear a mask and do not attend classes or work to prevent possible cross-infection. Wash your hands regularly to reduce any cross-contamination.

  32. Is it still safe for us to use the eating utensils provided at hawker centres, food courts or restaurants?

    A: With the whole COVID-19 situation, sanitation and hygiene advisories have been communicated and cleaning efforts stepped up. However, you can also choose to bring your own utensils with you as an option.

  33. Does elevated temperature mean there is infection somewhere? Should elevated temperature of 37.4 for two weeks, followed by temperature of 38 for four days and back to 37.4 be a concern?

    A: Having a temperature of 38 degrees for 4 days is rather unusual. It will be good if you can drop by UHC to consult our Health Physicians. Our opening hours: http://www.nus.edu.sg/uhc/contact/general-enquiries

  34. Is blocked nose a symptom of COVID-19?

    A: Blocked nose can be a symptom of many issues e.g. allergies, common cold, influenza etc. not just COVID-19. From our Singapore experience, the top 5 symptoms of COVID-19 are:
    - Fever
    - Cough
    - Sore throat
    - Runny nose
    - Diarrhoea
    Breathlessness is not common, but may indicate a more severe infection.

  35. I have been feeling a bit nauseous for two days but still have a good appetite. I also had loose stool over the past three days (but not frequent, only once a day), otherwise, I feel completely fine and have no fever. Could this be COVID-19? I hear nausea/diarrhoea can also be symptoms. Should I see a doctor?

    A: The commonest symptom of COVID-19 infection is fever. Diarrhoea can be present, but diarrhoea on its own is uncommon. Do come by UHC to consult with our doctors. Our opening hours are: http://www.nus.edu.sg/uhc/contact/general-enquiries

  36. Will CONVID-19 patient be infected with the virus again?

    A: For most infections, when a person recovers, there is residual immunity in his/her body, which makes him/her resistant to that infection again. There are many factors at play and this residual immunity may last many months to years. So far, there is no evidence of people relapsing from COVID-19 but it is just too new for us to have all the answers.

  37. Do surgical masks stop the Coronavirus?

    A: Surgical masks are usually worn by surgeons to protect their patients from germs in their respiratory secretions. While they may offer users some protection against large respiratory droplets, they are much more effective when worn by an infected person to prevent droplets dispersal when he/she sneezes or coughs. Your best defense against the coronavirus remains keeping a distance from where people are coughing and good personal hygiene. https://www.moh.gov.sg/covid-19/faqs 

  38. With the current situation, is doing daily laundry recommended, after our clothes are exposed?

    A: Protect your family by practicing frequent laundry hygienically. Doing your laundry in hot water will help in ridding some bacteria but remember to check your garments’ washing instructions before any wash!

  39. . Should I don a mask to clean my shoes if I have stepped on someone’s spit?

    A: If you have stepped on something that is contaminated, to disinfect your shoes, you can try to clean it with rubbing alcohol. A mask is probably not necessary. Also, remember not to touch your face with your soiled hands!

  40. . Should I avoid raw food like sashimi etc?

    A: In this current climate, it is best to observe health advisories including the consumption of raw or undercooked meats. For more, go to https://www.gov.sg/article/how-do-i-protect-myself-and-my-family

  41. Can I get checked before I go travelling even if I have no symptoms?

    A: Hi, if you have no symptoms, there’s really no need to be tested. Practice good personal hygiene and live life as normal.

  42. Would like to know if only coughing (almost recovered now) could be a sign of worry? There have been no symptoms on coronavirus that I have observed, including fever. I plan to visit UHC to see a GP.

    A: If you almost well, there’s really no need to worry. The doctors at UHC will be happy to attend to you. Our opening hours are: http://www.nus.edu.sg/uhc/contact/general-enquiries

  43. Hi! Do you have information on travel to Taiwan? I want to ensure I won’t have any problems with immigration after having travelled there since it has ties to China in the eyes of some countries. I have tried contacting many embassies but haven’t gotten any clear information.

    A: You may like to consult with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding your concerns. Details regarding travels to Taiwan are found here: https://www.mfa.gov.sg/countries-regions/t/taiwan/travel-page

  44. Hello! I am an exchange student and have tickets to go back to the UK for a week to see family during recess. However, given the current situation, and the fact that in the UK I would be going home to my parents who are older, would it be safe for me to go back? I do not have any underlying symptoms currently. Is there a test available that I can do to check?

    A: Your concerns given your older parents are understandable. There is a test for COVID-19 but this test is made available to suspected cases only.

    Since you do not have any symptoms, the risk of you having the virus is minimal. Do continue to practice good personal hygiene when you meet your parents e.g. cover mouth with tissue when coughing, frequent hand washing etc. Have a good trip back!

  45. Does UHC have an SOP to deal with suspected COVID-19 cases?

    A: UHC is well prepared and has in place robust measures to deal with COVID-19. All suspected cases are attended to in an isolated area away from the main clinic.

  46. Will there be thorough disinfection within the premises if a suspected person is identified in UHC?

    A: Yes, disinfection will be thorough. Arrangements are already in place with NEA recommended cleaning companies to engage their services to clean UHC to MOH’s standard should the need arise.

  47. Should I proceed to UHC or the hospital if I have a fever and cough while on campus even though I do not have any travel history to China within the past few months?

    A: Presently, there are some limited local clusters in Singapore. If you are unsure of your condition, do come by UHC for a consultation.

  48. Is it still safe to use the water coolers within the campus?

    A: It’s probably a good idea to use water coolers to fill up your own water bottle rather than drinking directly off the water coolers.

  49. Even when I am out for just a short while, should I shower immediately when I am home?

    A: Unless you have been in very dirty environment, your risk is minimal. Nonetheless, it is always wise to practice good personal hygiene.

  50. Rub hands together, making sure that all surfaces of hands and fingers are covered until they are dry (no rinsing is required)
  • Home
  • Health Promotion
  • Ask the Doc Q&A