Where to get masks, hand sanitisers and thermometers in Singapore
It’s not just regular flu season. It’s the time of Coronavirus, or COVID-19, and judging from how things are going, the situation will only get more severe in many parts of the world – including Singapore. With no vaccine to this highly infectious illness as of yet, the best thing we can do right now is to take all the necessary precautions we can – even if you’re young and fit with a strong immune system.
This includes wearing a mask in public, taking your temperature on a daily basis to ensure you’re not feverish, and washing hands regularly to maintain personal hygiene. Here’s the lowdown on the types of masks, thermometers, and hand sanitisers in Singapore and where to get them so you can stay protected and overcome COVID-19 like we have for past pandemics.
– Masks –
Types of masks that work against COVID-19
One very important point of note about masking up in light of COVID-19s: Not all masks are effective in protecting you from the virus. Here’s a brief explanation on the commonly used types of masks, how they work, and what doesn’t:
Image credit: @ivlylia
A surgical mask is your best bet. It’s breathable, used by medical professionals, and forms a protective layer between your mouth/nose against any germy droplets that might possibly land on your face and infect you. It also prevents any of your own germs from spreading to others when you cough or sneeze.
Make sure the mask is properly adjusted for your face, with minimal gaps at the sides.
Image credit: Ministry of Health
Do also note that the longer a mask is used, the less effective it becomes over time. Dispose of a mask once it gets damp from your breath, or after it has been used from 8 to 16 cumulative hours – depending on the location or intensity of activity. If you’ve been, say, cycling around and sweating, or visiting a hospital, you’d want to switch to a clean mask earlier.
Dispose of your mask the responsible way by sealing it up tightly in a plastic bag beforehand so that the germs don’t spread to others. If you’re outside and don’t have any plastic bags with you, it’ll help to at least fold the mask up first, with the side that was previously in contact with your face on the inside.
Image credit: @hyunminyudavid
Another mask that can help protect you from Covid-19 is the N95 mask, which is actually more of a respirator that also works against pollution like haze. As it’s more tightly fitted around the nose and mouth, it leaves less space for any gaps.
However, it’s also much harder to breathe in than a surgical mask. You might have to take a short break from wearing it after every hour or two.
Unless the situation gets super dire, an N95 mask is not particularly recommended at this point. But you can go ahead if you prefer to stay on the safer side of things.
Pitta mask/cloth mask
Image credit: @soaobchan
You’ve probably seen your K-Pop oppas and Harajuku fashionistas wearing these, either as a sartorial statement or to conceal their identity. While cloth masks might not be as effective as surgical masks, it still adds an added layer of protection. You’re now recommended to put them on whenever you’re in a crowded area, even if you aren’t sick, to protect yourself.
Where to get masks
Collect free reusable masks from now till 12th April 2020
From now till 12th April 2020, households can now head to designated community clubs and centres, and residents’ committee centres to collect a reusable mask for everyone in the family, including domestic workers.
Image credit: Kezia Tan
The 3-ply fabric masks can be easily hand washed after each use so there’s no need to ever worry about running out of protection for your face.
If you’ve missed the collection period, similar masks can also be easily purchased online on e-stores like Lazada, Shopee and Ezbuy.
Purchase your surgical masks online
You can typically purchase surgical masks from pharmacies and drugstores like Unity, Guardian, and Watsons. However, at time of writing, these places are mostly sold out of masks.
Ordering online from platforms like Lazada and Shopee is another option, but do exercise your own judgement to assess whether a particular vendor is reputable and what they’re selling is the real deal. High chances that they’re heavily marked up as well due to high demand and supply strains as well. The usual price is around $5 for a box of 50, but these days most are sold around $30.
– Hand sanitiser –
Where to buy hand sanitiser in Singapore
For your hand sanitiser to be effective against flu viruses, it has to contain at least 70% alcohol. These can normally be readily found at pharmacies, as well as stores selling body products – such as Bath and Body Works. But right now, the supply of hand sanitisers is at an all time low. Here’s where they are still in stock, at time of writing.
Image credit: Hysses
While the pocket versions of their hand sanitisers bearing cute animal designs are all sold out, Hysses still has ready stock of their Rosemary Peppermint Hand Sanitiser with over 70% ethyl alcohol content. A 65ml bottle costs $14.90, while a larger 300ml one costs $59.90.
Due to high demand, they are currently unable to provide delivery. You can pick up your orders from their HQ at 37 Kaki Bukit View, by appointment only.
Find their full collection of hand sanitisers here, and check back in time to see if they’ve got new stock.
Lifebuoy at Giant supermarket
Image credit: Kezia Tan
Supermarkets like Giant still do have stock in-stores*, so you can easily grab one during your next supermarketing session. Spotted were reputable brands like Lifebuoy, going at $2.65 for a 50ML bottle.
*Accurate at time of writing
Image credit: TheFreshLab
There’s still a range of hand sanitisers stocked up on Lazada, though do assess each item and its vendor’s credibility before purchasing. Some of them do not have enough alcohol content – or any alcohol at all – and thus may not be effective against the disease.
The above Well Daily antiseptic sanitiser is said to be able to kill 99.9% of germs and costs $28 for a 500ML bottle. According to the seller, it’ll reach you in 1 – 3 days upon purchase.
– Thermometers –
Types of thermometers and how to use them
You can get thermometers from pharmacies like Watsons, Guardian, and Unity, but as with masks and sanitisers, a good number of them are all sold out of thermometers as well.
You might have better luck with branches of these stores located at HDB estates rather than at malls or hospitals, but if they still prove to be elusive, you can try searching on locally-based online stores like Lazada.
Image credit: @justikanz
This is the standard thermometer most households have, and you’re probably well acquainted with it from those days of temperature-taking exercises in school.
The proper way of using this is to place it under the tongue. While doing so, avoid moving your tongue or speaking, as the friction can produce heat which will affect the accuracy of your reading.
While these can be shared if washed thoroughly, it’s best for each member of the household to have a personal digital thermometer for hygiene purposes. Alternatively, you can buy sleeves for the device, which are to be disposed of after each usage.
Image credit: @anak.ibu.shop
A contactless infrared thermometer is the most hygienic way of taking someone’s temperature, as there’s no need for the device to come into direct contact with the person. It’s great if you’re buying it for your company, or to use at an event where large groups of people will be present.
It’s the most eco-friendly option as well, since you don’t have to buy any sleeves in order to use it. However, it’s also pricey, at over $100.
Image credit: @mrsd2083
An ear thermometer takes accurate temperature readings from inside the body itself – without being as invasive as, ahem, going through the rectum. Doctors tend to use these at clinics.
Similar to an infrared thermometer, this is also on the pricey side. You’ll also need to buy disposable plastic caps for this, as the probe goes directly into your ear canal. Nothing too deep though – it’s a fast and painless process.
Where to get masks, thermometers and hand sanitiser in Singapore
While we’re all scrambling to protect ourselves and our families against the COVID-19, it’s worth pausing for a moment to think about whether we’re reacting purely based on kiasu-ism, or whether we’re buying out of need.
It’s not to say that you shouldn’t stock up – you should, because any sort of protective measure will reduce your chances of contracting the illness. But if you already have more than enough supplies at home, you might want to think twice about whether it’s absolutely necessary to clear that entire supermarket shelf. Have a heart, and leave enough for those who really need it if you already have an overflowing stash.
If you know of where else to get such products, do leave a comment below to share. In the meantime, stay healthy and maintain good personal hygiene, and hopefully this will all blow over soon.
Catch yourselves up with our other COVID-19 related articles:
- Tips to avoid the Coronavirus
- Coronavirus memes
- Food places with no queue
- Coronavirus travel tips
- Coronavirus myths debunked
Original article published by Rachel Yohannan on 12th February 2020 . Last updated by Kezia Tan on 6th April 2020.