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.

Stephen writes on Facebook, “I recently had blood work and a urinalysis. Does the COVID-19 virus show up in these tests?”

A blood antibody test can show prior infection with COVID but that is a special test that is not routinely done. And the virus won’t be detected with a urinalysis. Right now, the best way to know if you’re currently infected is to have a nasal swab (and in some places, an oral swab) performed.

Another viewer says he’s 81-years old with end-stage kidney disease and heart failure. He wants to know if he should fly from Boston to Phoenix during the Thanksgiving Holiday.

I don’t think that’s a good idea. You’re at very high risk for a number of reasons and should avoid non-essential travel at this time. It’s not only being on an airplane that could be risky for you, but also walking through airports and exposing yourself to friends and family. This is going to be a lonely holiday season for many, perhaps you can plan some Zoom get-togethers instead.

Liliana wants to know if she should bring her own sheets and pillows if she stays at a hotel.

That’s probably not necessary. Of course, I would make sure you choose a reputable hotel that is thoroughly cleaning linens between guests, which most hotels do.

Rob writes, “I’ve noticed that frequent hand washing and sanitizing has left my hands cracked despite moisturizing. Should I be wearing gloves to prevent contracting COVID-19?”

Frequent moisturizing is so important to keep our hands from getting dry right now. Make sure you use an emollient product like petroleum jelly, for example. There is some concern about using gloves because you could contaminate yourself with contaminated gloves. You can either use disposable gloves, tossing them with every use, or you need to wash reusable gloves frequently just like you would wash your hands.

Dr. Mallika Marshall


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