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 live with my mom who finished chemotherapy in March. Is it safe for me to get a job or should I wait? – Nicole

I guess it depends on the type of job. Can you work from home? If you must work outside the home, can you protect yourself from infection? Would you be a frontline worker, or can you keep to yourself and limit your exposure to the virus? Perhaps you can discuss this with your mother’s doctor before making a final decision.

Paula wants to know if she should be concerned about being around people who are smoking and not wearing masks.

You shouldn’t be around anyone who is not wearing a mask. And if someone is smoking, they’re forcibly exhaling respiratory droplets into the air.

Will it be safe for a person with a compromised immune system to get a COVID shot when the vaccine becomes available? – Catherine in Walpole 

People with weakened immune systems often need to avoid vaccines made with live virus, but there are a variety of coronavirus vaccines currently in development, most of which do not involve using a live virus. So, it’s very likely there will be a vaccine available for people who are immunocompromised.

For decades now society has existed with other viruses transmitted through the air. All this time we’ve not worn masks for colds, measles, the flu, or chickenpox. Coronavirus isn’t new. Why is everything now turned upside down for a common airborne virus? – Carla

For a few reasons. This coronavirus is new, and our immune systems were not prepared for it. We have vaccines for some of the illnesses you mentioned like the flu, measles, and chickenpox which help protect us and prevent widespread transmission. Plus, this virus is particularly toxic, not only potentially deadly, but it can cause long-term disability in many patients.

Dr. Mallika Marshall