By Michael Sheehy, MD
Chief of Population Health and Analytics
Reliant Medical Group
The coronavirus has changed people’s behavior all across the world. But one behavior that is proving rather difficult for many people to change is not touching their face.
Since everyone’s face contains multiple pathways for an infection to enter our body, just a simple touch can make us sick. Unfortunately, making behavioral changes such as not touching your face so often is just not that easy to do.
Skeptical? Try counting the number of times you touch your face in an hour – you might be surprised at just how high the number is. In fact, researchers have done studies that say the average person touches their face somewhere between 15 and 23 times per hour. It’s just something that we all do; whether it’s rubbing our eyes, massaging our forehead, scratching our nose, or stroking our cheeks.
Some researchers believe that people tend to touch their faces more often in stressful situations. While not scientifically documented, some people even believe that the more you obsess over not touching your face, the more it will happen because it will be foremost in your mind.
So what to do? Keep in mind that it’s alright to touch your face as long as your hands are clean and free of germs. So that means lots of handwashing and using hand-sanitizer if soap and water isn’t available. You can also prevent the spread of germs by keeping the things that you touch often clean, such as your computer keyboard, countertops, cell phone and even doorknobs. Avoiding handshakes and any unnecessary touching is also a good idea to prevent the spread of disease.