Watch CBS News

Can Vitamin Supplements Prevent Infection? Dr. Mallika Marshall Answers Your Coronavirus Questions

BOSTON (CBS) – As the number of coronavirus cases continues to grow, we are receiving a number of questions from the public. Dr. Mallika Marshall answered some of the questions sent to WBZ-TV's Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.

I am a recovering cancer patient. Would cancer be considered an underlying condition? - Harry, Hingham

It depends on the type of cancer and where you are in your recovery. But in general, people with cancer are often treated with medications that can weaken their immune system, putting them at greater risk for infection, including the coronavirus. So I would be particularly careful about socially distancing and washing your hands. And I wish you all the best in your recovery.

Since the coronavirus attacks weakened immune, why isn't anybody addressing how to build up a person's immune system? Such as making sure that your Vitamin D is okay or adding more Vitamin C to your diet? - Robert

While social distancing and hand washing is the best way to combat the virus in the moment, we should always try to boost our immune systems, even outside of a pandemic by exercising, getting good sleep, and eating a balanced diet, and checking in with your doctor regularly to look for conditions like Vitamin D deficiency. There is no evidence that Vitamin C supplements will prevent coronavirus infection.

I ordered denim masks from a company in Chelsea. Since Chelsea is a hot spot for COVID-19 is it safe to use them? I was planning to wash them in hot water. - Gail, Instagram

Chelsea is definitely a hot spot, and hopefully, the people making the masks wore masks themselves and used clean hands while working on them. If they're being mailed to you, it's unlikely that the virus would survive the shipping process on cloth. That said, I would throw them in the washing machine before use.

Is there a general antiviral skin cream that would be effective against coronavirus? - Stephen, Facebook

There are some antiviral creams that treat viral infections on the skin, like cold sores.  But with coronavirus, the virus doesn't actually infect the skin.  It just contaminates it, so you just want to get it off your skin before you accidentally infect yourself by touching your face.  That can be done with soap and water or hand sanitizers.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.