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.

Dr. Mallika is offering her best advice, but as always consult your personal doctor before making any decisions about your personal health.

Is it safe is it to use the laundry room in my senior housing building? We are limited to two people at a time, cannot fold the clothes in this room, and must wear masks when out of our apartments. – Eleanor

It sounds like the building is taking good precautions. I would try to go when you’re the only one in the laundry room. If someone else is there, don’t go inside unless you both are wearing masks properly. And go back to your apartment between cycles so you’re not lingering in that small space for too long.

Is it safe to get a dental cleaning with such close contact and the inability to wear a mask during the procedure? – Susan, Bridgewater

The biggest risk is to the hygienists and dentists who are being exposed to respiratory droplets with just about any procedure they do, including cleanings. Most practices are taking extra precautions, disinfecting between patients, wearing PPE, and using more suction to reduce the droplets released into the air. If you really need a cleaning and you’re concerned, call your dentist to ask them what they’re doing to reduce risk to their patients. If you’re high risk, you may want to postpone your cleaning.

When should you change your mask? – Colleen

You should certainly change your mask every day but if you’ve been out and you think the outside of the mask has become wet, soiled, or potentially contaminated with other people’s respiratory droplets, you should replace it with a clean mask. Now that cloth masks are more widely available, keep a few so you always have a clean one around.

Should the wait staff at a restaurant change the rags that they use on one table before they move on to clean the next table? – Matt

Ideally, yes. But what’s most important is that they are using an adequate amount of approved disinfectant that will kill the virus on contact.

Dr. Mallika Marshall

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