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Stop Touching Your Face! (Unfortunately, That's More Difficult Than it Sounds.)

avoid touching face

Most of us tend to scratch our mouth, pick or wipe our nose, rub our eyes or touch our face in some way far more often than we realize. But there are also many less obvious reasons we often touch our face, such as sweeping away a pest, calming ourself when we're nervous or frustrated, flirting, a surprise response, etc. (One study suggests we touch our face an average of nearly every 3 minutes!)

Unfortunately, our hands easily become contaminated with germs and virus every time we touch a grocery cart, our phone, a door handle or shake someone's hand. And this may be one of the primary ways that coronavirus is transmitted since the virus can remain active on surfaces for hours, days or even weeks.

When we then touch our face with dirty, virus-contaminated hands, those germs can enter through the mucus membranes of our eyes, nose or mouth and may cause us to become infected.

Tips to help you stop touching your face
Practicing willpower probably isn't a failproof solution. Getting people to stop do something that they do unconsciously is difficult, according to a behavioural scientist at Columbia University. "It's much easier to have people washing their hands more often than to have them touching their face fewer times. You won't have success if you just say 'Do not do an unconscious thing' to someone." 

Some tips that MAY work, however, include:

  1. Wearing a face mask and eyeglasses, safety glassses or sunglasses. These may provide enough of an interuption to prevent us from unconsciously touching our nose, mouth or eyes.
  2. Keep a box of clean tissues nearby. When confronted with a face itch you just can't ignore, it isn't ideal but a safer solution is to scratch it with the back of your hand, a tissue, your sleeve, etc.
  3. When in front of the computer, open the DoNotTouchYourFace webpage that watches you through your webcam and notifies you when you're reaching for your face.
  4. Unfortunately, wearing gloves offers little protection since they can become contaminated, just like your hands would. And properly removing them each time to touch your face is impractical.
  5. Wash your hands often. No matter how hard we try to not touch our face, it still may happen. But if your hands are clean, the risk of coronavirus infection will be minimized greatly.

previous Step 1: Social Distancing

Step 3: Wash Hands next

Details for Each of the
6 Coronavirus Prevention Tips

Coronavirus Infographic | Social Distancing | Don't Touch Face | Wash Hands
Cover Coughs & Sneezes | Sanitize Surfaces | Face Masks