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.

Flo asks, “I am in my late 60s. Should I be going to routine medical appointments like dental cleanings, eye exams, annual physicals, mammograms, etc.”

You should feel comfortable going to most routine medical appointments like annual physicals and mammograms. The one caveat is the dentist. Although dental offices are taking precautions, they work in patients’ mouths and use instruments that can release droplets into the air. In that case, you may want to postpone your routine cleaning until a later date. You can call them to discuss it further.

Felix asks, “Are shields good for protecting against COVID-19?”

Shields can provide some additional eye protection, but they are not a substitute for masks. If you choose to wear a standard face shield, you still need to wear a mask underneath.

Wayne asks, “If masks are worn to protect us from COVID-19, then why would we need to get a flu shot?  Wouldn’t the mask protect us from that as well?”

Wearing masks will help protect us from getting the flu, COVID, and other respiratory viral infections, but they’re not perfect. You could still catch the flu even if you wear a mask out in public, so getting a flu vaccine provides additional protection to keep us all healthy this winter.

Jane from Worcester has a question about restaurant igloos.  She writes, “Don’t germs linger in the air once people leave?  The next customers will be subjected to any germs airborne in these enclosed areas.”

Some restaurants are installing outdoor see-through igloos to keep diners outside and somewhat protected from the cold.  But you’re right, these igloos need to be aired out fully before other customers should be seated inside them.

Dr. Mallika Marshall

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