By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) — Dr. Mallika Marshall is answering your coronavirus-related medical questions. If you have a question for Dr. Mallika, email her or message her on Facebook or Twitter.

Can we use public restrooms now?Heather

In general, yes. Typically, when you use a public restroom, you get in and out quickly. But there are some steps you can take to minimize your risk. Wear a mask. Don’t crowd around with others waiting to get into the restroom. Avoid touching surfaces as best you can. And wash your hands well when you’re done, using the paper towel to open the door as you exit.

Is it okay to wear sandals this summer?Dina

Yes. You can wear sandals. And you can wear shorts and tank tops. The virus does not invade your body through your skin. You get sick by inhaling it or touching contaminated hands to your face. So the most important measure to take is to stay a safe distance from others and wear a mask.

Will it be safe to shop in a mall when they open?Lisa

Not the way we used to visit malls — strolling for hours and gathering in the food court. We still need to avoid spending extended periods of time indoors with other people. Outdoor malls will be less risky than indoor malls. You will want to go at less crowded times. Wear a mask at all times. Get in and out quickly and avoid the food court where people tend to mingle without their masks on.

Is it safe to use allergy medications right now, like antihistamines? Could that put you at greater risk of catching COVID-19?Sean

Yes, it is safe for you to take your antihistamines for your seasonal allergies. They will not put you at greater risk of getting the coronavirus. Some worry that nasal steroid sprays might blunt the immune response in the nose, but a leading group of allergists and immunologists said if you’re already on them, you should stay on them. But as always, consult your own doctor before starting or stopping a medication.

Dr. Mallika Marshall


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