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.

My partner and I, both seniors, are contemplating a day-trip from Boston to Connecticut via Amtrak. Is it wise for us to travel on an intercity train? – Daniel, Somerville

Even though trains are requiring masks, limiting the number of passengers, and cleaning frequently, you would still be coming into relatively close contact with other people in the station and on the train. It would be safer to travel in your own car, but if you must travel by rail, wear a mask, keep a good distance between you and other passengers, and use hand sanitizer frequently.

Paul has a similar question.  “Is it safe to ride the MBTA with all the people on the train?”

Even though passengers are required to wear masks, city trains and buses can get pretty crowded which increases the risk of transmission. If you can find another way to get around like by car or bike, that would be ideal, but unfortunately for many workers, there is no other way.

Jane says she just flew in from Texas and will self-quarantine at home. She asks, “Can I go for a walk if I wear a mask?” 

When you’re in quarantine, you want to avoid contact with others, so don’t go to any public places, including parks. It’s probably fine for you to take a walk near your home assuming you wear a mask and stay far away from others. 

Donna is worried about contracting COVID from contaminated surfaces. She writes, “Should we clean toilet seats after each use with disinfectant wipes?”

While it’s much more likely that you’ll contract the virus by breathing in someone else’s respiratory droplets, there is a potential risk you could become infected by touching contaminated surfaces.  However, it’s unlikely that you’ll get it from sitting on a toilet. Instead of worrying about wiping off the seat, just wash your hands well after using the restroom.

Dr. Mallika Marshall


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