How to stop touching your face in the times of COVID-19
A study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene found that a person touches their face 15.7 times in an hour on average.
One of the five most important precautions you can take to protect yourself from the novel coronavirus infection is to avoid touching your face.
We know this because we know how people catch viral infections - your hands can pick up the virus when they come in contact with a contaminated surface and transfer it to your nose, mouth or eyes when you touch your face. (The other important way coronavirus spreads is through sneeze and cough droplets.)
The COVID-19 causing virus - SARS-CoV-2 - does not enter your body through your skin - which is why maintaining good hygiene can wash it away and keep you safe. But we touch our faces so much and often unconsciously that even if we wash our hands regularly, the chances of contracting the infection can be high.
A study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene found that a person touches their face 15.7 times in an hour on average. So here are a few tips to help you stop touching your face:
1. Keep your hair away from your face
Hair can often irritate your skin or even your eyes. Keeping your hair tied neatly so that no stray strands touch your face can help you not touch your face so often. Instead of hair, if you have another trigger like a scar on your face, try coming up with a solution for it. Like putting a bandaid on the scar. Or if it’s contact lenses, try wearing spectacles in place of them.
2. Use an item as a warning
Wear a special rubber band around your wrist or stick a small note on an old bracelet with scotch tape and wear it as a reminder to not touch your face. You can also post a sticky note on your laptop, desk or wherever you spend most of your time.
3. Do your skincare all at once
Dry skin can make you want to scratch or rub your skin more often. So limit your skin-touching for the morning, right after your shower. Wash your hands with soap and water for a whole minute, then proceed to wash your face, apply toner, a good moisturizer - and anything else included in your daily skincare routine.
4. Wear a mask or scratchy gloves
A mask or face cover is recommended for current times, not only because they create a barrier between your nose/mouth and the rest of the world, but also because they keep you from touching your face and mouth too much. It can get irritating to wear a mask all the time at home though, so you can alternate it with your scratchiest pair of gloves. They’ll cause you more irritation than relief and soon you wouldn’t be touching your face at all. Remember, gloves can transfer viruses to your face as well - this only works if your gloves are clean and you keep them that way.
5. Make a face-touch jar
We’ve all heard of swear jars - you can create a jar for any bad habit. Put in whatever change you can find (or a standard of Rs 10-50, an amount that pinches you) every time you touch your face and donate it all to charity at the end of this.
6. Wash your hands religiously!
Even if you remove all triggers, you might still be touching your face without even realizing it - you can’t fix a problem if you don’t even know you have it. Which is why maintaining hand hygiene is very important - whether you think you touch your face or not. Wash your hands with soap and water before and after all meals, after you go to the bathroom, before cooking, after touching your pets, after any household chores and every time you come back home.
For more information, read our article on Maintaining hygiene and social distancing while shopping for essentials.
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.
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