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.

Carla writes, “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?”

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.

Francine on Facebook says her brother has heart problems and lives in a rooming house.  He tested positive for COVID. She wants to know if it is safe to bring him back to her house to stay.

He should remain in isolation for at least 10 days after he developed symptoms and for at least 24 hours after his fever resolves. If you take him into your home while he’s still contagious, you’ll have to keep your distance, wear masks whenever you’re in the same vicinity and disinfect frequently.

Ricky asks on Facebook if it’s safe to go to his local health center to get a flu shot now.

Yes, this is the time to do it. Health centers and pharmacies are keeping their patients and clients safe. Just make sure you keep your mask on and follow their protocols and procedures.

Another question from Facebook. Cynthia writes, “Is having a saxophone player plus singers perform at my 50th birthday backyard celebration safe?”

When someone plays a sax, they can’t wear a mask, and singers who are performing typically don’t wear masks. So if any of them are infected, they could be propelling the virus out into the atmosphere. Being outside helps, but you would need to keep a good distance away. Otherwise, maybe you could have a string quartet, or a piano player, or a DJ instead.


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