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 you explain mask etiquette? I’ve heard never to push your mask under your chin, in your hair, or hanging by one ear, etc.

In order to be effective, a mask should cover both your nose and your mouth at the same time. A mask is not doing any good hanging around your neck or swinging by one ear. But there will be times when you might need to lower your mask or remove it. To take a sip from a drink or to eat, for example. That should be done at a safe distance from others. When you’re finished, put it right back in place, touching it as little as you can.

If I have to babysit my granddaughter, do I have to wear a mask?

If you’re older and therefore at high risk, ideally you should maintain social distancing from people outside your immediate household, including your grandchildren. I understand that there may be circumstances where that is not possible. Your granddaughter is too young to wear a mask. And if you wear a mask it would be in an attempt to protect her from catching the virus from you, so use your judgment.

What about people who go out for a walk without a mask then pass by other people on their walk? Shouldn’t everyone wear a mask or at least have one available to wear?

It is unlikely you’re going to catch the virus by simply walking by someone outdoors who is not wearing a mask. But I agree, whenever you’re out in public, you should be wearing a mask or have on ready to put on when you come anywhere near others. It’s not only a matter of public health but also common courtesy.

Can you get the coronavirus from holding hands and kissing?

Yes, because doing those things puts you in close contact with someone else. If you hold hands or kiss someone who is infected with the virus, there is a very good chance you will become infected as well. You could inhale contaminated respiratory droplets, touch your contaminated hands to your face, or become exposed through their saliva.

Dr. Mallika Marshall


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