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How to avoid touching your face so much

Touching our faces

We often touch our faces without even noticing. According to research, we are particularly prone to touch our chins and the areas around the mouth, nose, and eyes. 

That behavior makes us prone to infecting ourselves with diseases, by spreading the bacteria and viruses we pick up with our hands.

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How to avoid touching your face so much

How to avoid touching your face so much

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200317-how-to-stop-touching-your-face

bbc.com

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Key Ideas

Touching our faces

We often touch our faces without even noticing. According to research, we are particularly prone to touch our chins and the areas around the mouth, nose, and eyes. 

That behavior makes us prone to infecting ourselves with diseases, by spreading the bacteria and viruses we pick up with our hands.

Why we touch our faces

  • Touching our faces may act as a kind of self-soothing mechanism. 
  • We may use face touching subconsciously to flirt. 
  • Some experts think self-touching is a way to help control our emotions and attention span.

Researchers found that people they observed, who were unaware they were watched, touched surfaces, and then their nose or mouth more than three times an hour.

How to stop touching your face

  • Masks offer a useful form of protection, not necessarily because they stop the virus, but because it becomes harder to touch the nose and mouth.
  • If you feel a physical need like an itch, you can use the back of the arm and reduce the risk of picking up diseases.
  • People who touch their eyes can wear sunglasses or just sit on their hands.
  • 'Notes to self' can be a helpful reminder.
  • We can also resort to methods like fidget spinners or stress balls, especially when your hands are idle.

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Touching our faces

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Handwashing is crucial

Effective handwashing consists of five simple steps: wet, lather, scrub, rinse, dry.
Do so for at least 20 seconds.

Stop touching your face

This is a habit you can break:
  • Be mindful of your intention to keep your hands away from your face.
  • Place visual reminders at home and at the office so you will be aware that you want to keep your hands down.
  • Use a scented hand sanitizer or a scented hand soap to help remind yourself to keep hands away from your face. The smell will keep you alert.
  • Use gloves if necessary.

Effectiveness of face masks

Effectiveness of face masks

At the beginning of the current outbreak, there were a lot of assurances from the media, governments and medical organizations that face masks are ineffective and could potentially increase our ris...

Face masks and viruses

According to research, face masks (surgical and N95) were the most consistently effective way of reducing the transmission of viruses similar to the new one, if worn properly and consistently.
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Fighting the flu

Studies concerning the flu are more in line with current advice about prioritizing hand washing.
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Spreading and deactivation

The new virus spreads most commonly through invisible respiratory droplets sent into the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes, droplets that can be inhaled by nearby people or land on surf...

Sticking in the air /on surfaces

  • The new virus is thought to persist in the air for up to 3 hours and for 2 to 3 days on stainless steel and plastic surfaces.
  • The new virus has been detected in feces, suggesting the virus could be spread by people who don’t properly wash their hands after using the bathroom.
  • There is no indication that it spreads through drinking water, swimming pools, or hot tubs.

Bleach and the outdoors

  • The disinfectant most commonly used outdoors is a diluted solution of sodium hypochlorite (household bleach). But it’s unclear whether bleach destroys viruses outside, and if it does kill them on surfaces it's unclear whether it would kill viruses in the air.
  • UV light seems to destroy the new virus as well. Bleach itself breaks down under ultraviolet (UV) light.