By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) – As the number of coronavirus cases continues to grow, we are receiving a number of questions from the public. Dr. Mallika Marshall answered some of the questions sent to WBZ-TV’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.

My 85-year old mother would like my cousin who is a hairdresser to come over and do her hair. My cousin is not sick. Would that be OK? – Bruce in Medfield

I don’t think that’s a good idea. Many of us rely heavily on our hairdressers. But no, you should not have someone come inside the house to do your hair. It’s not worth the risk. Your cousin could have the infection and not know it. And your mom is over 65 and therefore at higher risk of serious infection.

If you never leave your house, how often should you wash your hands? – Thomas, Facebook

If you never leave your house and no one and nothing ever enters the house, then you can wash your hands like you normally would – after using the restroom and before eating or when they get soiled. However, if you’re receiving takeout or packages or mail, I would wash them anytime you touch something or someone that could potentially be contaminated.

Are people with high blood pressure at particularly high risk of COVID-19? – Jim

Studies have found that people with high blood pressure are at higher risk of getting sicker from coronavirus. It’s not clear why. Some people with high blood pressure have underlying heart disease and COVID-19 can put additional strain on the heart. But if you have high blood pressure, keep it under good control by taking your medications, monitoring your blood pressure at home if you can, and checking in with your doctor by phone if your notice your numbers are creeping up.

Some people are talking about breathing exercises to help clear the lungs during the early stages of COVID-19. Is that a good idea? – Ken

Some doctors and nurses are suggesting that people in the early stages of the illness do deep breathing exercises to fully expand the lungs, to get air and oxygen into every nook and cranny and to help clear secretions. Even before coronavirus, this technique has been used for years in hospitalized patients to strengthen their lungs and help prevent pneumonia. And while this is not a formal recommendation right now, it does make some sense, and it probably won’t hurt. Though be careful, it can make you a little dizzy.

Dr. Mallika Marshall

Comments (2)
  1. Earl Young says:

    I have seen articles that some of the blood pressure risk is because of interactions between the virus and Ace inhibitors. They all stressed that the interaction isn’t a reason to interrupt the medication, only that there was anecdotal evidence that the medicine rather the high BP per-se, was one of the “maybe” factors.

  2. Earl Young says:

    This story is circulating the Web. Have you had a chance to evaluate it for efficacy?

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