By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) —  As Massachusetts continues to fight the coronavirus pandemic, the public has plenty of questions. Dr. Mallika Marshall answered some of those sent to her email ( and Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Dr. Marshall has received a number of questions about going to the hairdresser. Both Diane and Julia are older than 60 and wonder if it is safe to get their hair cut.

Many salons are beginning to open their doors and are asking clients to return, but there is a risk in doing so. When you go to a salon, you’re in an enclosed space in close contact with others. So, find out what your salon is doing to keep their employees and clients safe. Are they insisting everyone wears a mask? Can they keep clients more than 6 feet apart? How are they cleaning between clients? I would say if you are older or otherwise in a high-risk group, you may want to wait to see how the situation evolves over the next several weeks.

“What are the risks in having our chimney cleaned? They will need to come inside to look at the flue.” – Matt

Any time you need to have someone come into your house, there is a risk of spreading respiratory droplets to one another. So I would ask them to wear masks while in your home. You should do the same. And I would also ask them to wear gloves or use hand sanitizer if they will be touching items in your home. You can then disinfect doorknobs or anything else they may have touched when they leave as an additional precaution.

“I have heard swimming in pools is okay because of chlorine. What about swimming in lakes, ponds and rivers?” – Ann

The coronavirus is not transmitted through water. You’re not going to catch the coronavirus by swimming in pools, lakes or rivers. And being outdoors is great and encouraged. However, you can catch the virus if you gather with others and don’t socially distance at pools, lakes or rivers.

“I had to take my mother to get some lab work done. Do I need to be quarantined?” – Viewer

According to the CDC, you should self-quarantine for 14 days if you think you may have come into contact with someone infected with the coronavirus. If you have simply gone out to run an errand and you feel well, you do not need to self-quarantine. But you, like all of us, should continue to keep 6 feet from others, wear a mask when in the company of others and stay home if you start to feel sick.

Dr. Mallika Marshall


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