What’s the best advice health experts have to help you reduce your risk of contracting the COVID-19 coronavirus? Stop touching your face.
In fact, this is timeless advice if you want to avoid catching any kind of cold or flu.
But the easiest way to not catch coronavirus is one of the hardest things to do.
Once conscious of the fact, you’d be amazed at how often you touch your face.
Look around you. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, you see people with their hands in their mouth and rubbing their nose.
It’s a habit many people pick up in childhood. It might even be an unconscious nervous tic you have. You rub your eye, touch your nose, bite your nails or the skin of your fingers, put your hand to your mouth and feel your face way more often that you think.
A 2015 study revealed that people touch their faces, on average, 23 times an hour, and 44 per cent of the time they touch their mouth, nose, eyes, or a combination of these.
Now more than ever, it’s time to stop this bad habit.
If you want to stay healthy, don’t touch your face.
COVID-19 can enter your body through contact with mucous membranes such as your eyes, nose and mouth. As can many other illnesses.
After touching an infected common public surface such as a handrail, pedestrian crossing or elevator button, or ATM touchpad, then touching your face with the unwashed hand, you could easily transmit the illness to yourself.
But how do you stop touching your face?
The first and most important step is to be aware that you’re doing it. Pay close and constant attention to how often you put your hands near your mouth, scratch your eye or touch your nose. Once you have a heightened awareness of this, you can start to identify your triggers and change your behaviour.
Those who use a computer, can sign up to www.donottouchyourface.com, set up a webcam and have the program alert you to when you touch your face.
Touching your face is often tied to stress. So, if you notice that stress causes you to touch your face, consider having a stress ball handy or substitute a face touch with clicking your fingers or tapping your thigh.
Some wellbeing guides will tell you to trick yourself into a ‘competing behaviour’ such as touching your arm instead of your face.
If your nose is itchy, train yourself to need a tissue before you scratch or rub your nose. And, if you do rub your nose, wash your hands afterwards!
It’s harder than you think, but if ever there was a time to not touch your face, it’s now.
Do you have any tips for not touching your face?
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