Touching face at times can easily transmit viruses into your body

Arhama AltafWeb Editor

17th Mar, 2020. 04:00 pm
Touching face

Touching your face can significantly increase the risk of infection with flu or cold viruses and the new coronavirus.

Your eyes and mouth are areas where viruses can easily enter your body through touching.

Studies have found that people touch their faces more than 16 times in an hour.

We touch our faces so often that the odds of recontaminating our hands between washings are extremely high.

Experts say wearing gloves can help you break the habit of frequently touching your face.

We all do it. We touch our faces countless times every day.

An itchy nose, tired eyes, wiping your mouth with the back of your hand are all things we do without a second thought.

Your mouth and eyes are areas where viruses can enter the body most easily.

All it takes is touching them with a finger already carrying an infection.

Two ways to transmit an infection

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the new coronavirus, is transmitted from person to person, like many other respiratory infections.

This includes by respiratory droplets produced when someone sneezes and inhaled into the lungs of others.

And by touching a virus-contaminated surface and using that hand to touch your eyes or mouth.

While we can easily avoid being around someone who’s obviously sick, or take precautions against airborne viruses using a mask.

But, we touch our faces all the time.

Scientists researching this behavior find that people are constantly touching their faces.

In 2008, 10 subjects were each observed alone in an office environment for 3 hours.

Researchers found they touched their faces an average of 16 times per hour.

Another study observed 26 medical students at a university in Australia to discover they touched their faces 23 times per hour.

Almost half of the face touches involved the mouth, nose, or eyes, which are the easiest pathways for viruses and bacteria to enter our bodies.

Even medical professionals, were found to touch their faces an average of 19 times in 2 hours.

Hand-washing is the key

So, we take precautions like washing our hands often and using at least 20 seconds to do so.

But this can only help if we also avoid touching our faces, as there’s no way of knowing when you’ve picked up a tiny, and potentially deadly, passenger.

According to the CDC, effective handwashing consists of five simple steps:

1.  wet
2. lather
3. scrub
4. rinse
5. dry

However, we touch our faces so often that the odds of recontaminating our hands between washings are extremely high.

All it takes is touching a doorknob or similar surface and you’re in danger of infection again.

It’s a habit you can break

A clinical psychologist offered the following tips to avoid touching your face during the coronavirus outbreak.

“Be mindful about your intention to keep your hands away from your face. Just a brief pause can help you be more aware of what you’re doing with your hands,” he said.

He added that it also helps to place reminders like Post-it notes in your home or office so you can see them and remember you want to keep your hands away from your face.

“Keep your hands busy. If you’re at home watching TV, try folding laundry, sort through mail, or hold something in your hands.”

He added that even a tissue will do, as long as it reminds you to keep your hands away from your face.

He also recommended using a scented hand sanitizer or a hand soap to help remind yourself to keep hands away from your face.

The smell will draw your attention to the location of your hands.

If you’re in a meeting or sitting in a class, he recommended lacing your fingers together and placing them in your lap.

Finally, if you know you habitually touch your face, wearing gloves can be an effective physical reminder.

The bottom line

Your eyes, nose, and mouth are the easiest paths for a virus like SARS-CoV-2 to enter the body.

All it takes is touching these areas with your hands after you’ve come in contact with the disease on a surface you touched.

No matter how frequently you wash your hands, it’s not often enough to prevent passing an infection into your system.

The best preventive measure is to avoid touching your face as much as possible.

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