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.

I remember seeing a lot of news in the past about multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, thought to be triggered by the COVID-19 virus. But now I hear little about this. Why is it not being mentioned anymore? – Jim

Two groups of U.S. scientists, including here at Boston Children’s Hospital, have just published two studies in the New England Journal of Medicine. They found nearly 300 cases of this syndrome in children, which sometimes develops weeks after infection with the coronavirus. While it’s still rare, parents should keep on the lookout for fever and rash in children who previously had the virus.

I purchased a box of disposable protective masks that say they block droplets and various micro-organisms. Are they safe to use? – Louise

Disposable masks are fine as long as they effectively cover the nose and mouth. But ideally, you should throw them away after each use. Don’t try to disinfect or wash them.

Can young children be carriers of COVID? Wondering if it’s safe for kids to go back to preschool. – Phil

It’s unclear how many children contract the virus but never develop symptoms and whether these children are capable of spreading the virus to others. This is a big focus of research right now as States grapple with whether to re-open schools in the fall and how. That’s why social-distancing and wearing masks for children over 2 is still really important.

I know the numbers in Massachusetts are good, but I’m still concerned about staying at a beach house with 12 of my close friends at the end of July. – Patricia

I would be concerned, too. While it’s probably okay to go to the beach as long as you keep your distance from others, staying under the same roof with people you don’t live with is risky. You’ll be in close proximity, not wearing masks, in an enclosed space for days. If any one of those friends is infected with the coronavirus, there is a good chance others will become infected as well. It’s not something I would feel comfortable doing right now.

Dr. Mallika Marshall


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