The same rules that apply to the flu, colds, or even other types of airborne illnesses, also apply to the COVID-19 pandemic. Basically, don’t touch your face.
What is it about your face that makes it so important not to touch it? Your face contains membranes that easily transmit infected germs through your mouth, nose, and eyes.
It’s not as easy as it looks to stop touching your face. People touch their faces around 23 times per hour, according to a study published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information website. Out of those 23 facial touches per hour, 44 percent are to the mouth, nose, and eyes.
Ways to Break the Habit of Touching Your Face
The most important thing to do is increase awareness of what you are doing. Once you understand that you should not be touching your face, it will make it easier to break the habit.
Here are 4 ways to stop touching your face:
1. Use a fidget or stress ball.
Using a fidget or stress ball can help keep your hands doing something other than touching your face. There are many different types of fidgets and stress balls. You can even use a rubber bouncy ball or a tennis ball to do the trick.
2. Keep sanitizer on your desk, on a keychain, in your car, and in your purse.
Whether you are still working at the office or working from home, it’s a good idea to have sanitizer nearby. Ideally, you should keep one on your desk, one on your keychain or purse, and one in your car. Just looking at the sanitizer can help remind you that you shouldn’t touch your face.
If you do have to touch your face, try to sanitize thoroughly right before doing so.
3. Keep tissues on your desk, car, and purse.
In addition to a sanitizer, it’s a good idea to keep tissues in those same places. This works in a similar way as a sanitizer. It helps to remind you that you should not be touching your face.
If you need to touch your face by wiping a tear, blowing your nose, or anything else for that matter, a tissue can help, as long as you are not using the part of the tissue that has touched your fingers.
Make sure you either sanitize before using the tissue or that you are using the part of the tissue that has been untouched. Otherwise, you risk contaminating your face with germs that are now on the tissue.
4. Put signs up everywhere that remind you not to touch your face.
If you are really bad at touching your face and you do it constantly, start putting up sticky notes all over your house, office, and computer, to remind you to not touch your face. Make sure you constantly look at the notes everywhere you go. After a while, you will stop touching your face because you will be conditioned to prevent yourself from doing so. (See Related: Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 Continues to Challenge Science)
Whether you use these 4 tips to help you stop touching your face, or it helps you come up with your own techniques, keeping your hands away from your face during a pandemic can help you keep germs away that can infect your body.
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