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What's lost when we're too afraid to touch the world around us?

Getting to know the world by touching it

Getting to know the world by touching it

The pandemic forces us to stay away from practically everything around us: we are not to go out without masks, we cannot hug or even shake hands with the others, we cannot touch objects outside of our house without washing very well our hands afterwards. 

However, touching is an important exploration tool - it enables us to discover the world around us. 

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What's lost when we're too afraid to touch the world around us?

What's lost when we're too afraid to touch the world around us?

https://theconversation.com/whats-lost-when-were-too-afraid-to-touch-the-world-around-us-135910

theconversation.com

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Key Ideas

Getting to know the world by touching it

The pandemic forces us to stay away from practically everything around us: we are not to go out without masks, we cannot hug or even shake hands with the others, we cannot touch objects outside of our house without washing very well our hands afterwards. 

However, touching is an important exploration tool - it enables us to discover the world around us. 

The benefits of a touch

The power of touch is essential to our development and well-being. For instance, premature babies have more chances to survive if they are held by their parents on a regular basis. 

Practically, touching the others is an important element of our social interactions: take the example of shaking hands, which is practiced worldwide as a sign of politeness. A touch has the major benefit that it brings people together faster than words.

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Clothing

The new virus is usually transmitted through respiratory droplets from an infected person sneezing or coughing rather than through objects and materials that are contaminated.

However, the C...

Laundry machines and clothing

Family and emergency Dr. Janette Nesheiwat suggested that polyester, spandex-like material may retain germs longer than breathable cotton-based fabrics, but all types of fabrics can be contaminated.

It is safe to use a shared laundry machine because the virus is killed by washing your clothes over 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Don't boil everything, because it will ruin your clothes.

Washing of clothes

  • It is advised to wash clothes in detergent that contain a bleach compound as viruses can't survive in that harsh environment.
  • Regularly wash your clothes, especially if you have been in a crowded area. Also, consider washing your coat.
  • It's best to wash a sick person's clothing separately.

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 u...

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.

Virus spreading

In The U.S., the new  virus may have been undetected for weeks, leading to a potential domestic spread, the extent of which is still unclear.

If the virus is spreading, the best-...

Preventive measures

  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds regularly, preferably in hot water.
  • Anti-bacterial soap doesn't work any better than normal soap.
  • Clean your hand towels.
  • Do not shake hands, or even bump fists to greet. 
  • Do not keep touching your face.
  • Doors and handles of public bathrooms are best left untouched.
  • Disinfect common surfaces that are used by the public.
  • Shared spaces, remote controls, and almost any public surface can, in theory, harbor the virus.
  • Our phones, the surface we touch the most, need cleaning at least once a day, as the virus can sit on glass surfaces for up to four days.

Preparing for isolation

  • Masks offer a level of protection but those who are already sick cannot rely on masks completely, as the virus can spread despite it.
  • Stockpiling of masks is discouraged, and people who are with sick people, like relatives, doctors, and nurses, are in a crucial need of masks.
  • People in remote areas can stockpile a short-term supply of food, other than that stockpiling of food isn't a concern right now.
  • One should have a small supply of prescription drugs, especially if they are vital.

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