Coronavirus outbreak: How to stop touching your face
Breaking a habit
Now that we know that it’s bad to touch our faces, how do we break a habit that most of us didn’t know we had?
Throughout the day, we touch a lot of surfaces — doorknobs, elevator buttons, subway poles — where viruses, including the new coronavirus, can linger for days. From there, microbes can piggyback on our fingertips to our noses, mouths or eyes, all of which are entry portals for the coronavirus, as well as other viruses and germs. It took the coronavirus outbreak to make many of us aware of just how often we reach for our faces.
Keeping your hands occupied with a stress ball or other object can decrease instances of touching your face and minimize triggers, doctors said. Of course, don’t forget to commonly clean and sanitize that object. If you don’t have a stress ball to squeeze, mail to sort or laundry to fold, you could lace your hands together in your lap or find another way to actively engage them so you are not bringing them to your face as much.
Pause throughout the day to notice compulsive behavior. Once you’re more aware of when and why you’re touching your face, addressing the root reason can be an effective solution. If you find yourself rubbing your eyes because they are dry, use moisturizing drops.
When you feel the urge to scratch an itch, rub your nose or adjust your glasses, grab a tissue and use that instead of your fingers.
If you feel you have to sneeze but don’t have a tissue handy, aim your sneeze into your elbow rather than your hand, health experts say. Sneezing into your hand makes it more likely that you will pass your germs on to other people or objects around you.