Stop Touching Your Face


It's an unconscious tic we do dozens of times a day. Texas A&M experts explain why you shouldn't touch your eyes, nose and mouth, and offer advice for breaking the habit.

Keeping your hands off your face is easier said than done. That’s what many people are learning as health care professionals urge the public to protect themselves from COVID-19.

Whether it’s scratching an itch or resting our chins in our hands, the coronavirus outbreak has made many of us aware of the urge to reach for our faces – and we do it a lot. A 2015 study published in the American Journal of Infection Control observed a group of medical students touching their faces an average 23 times an hour.

“It’s just an activity we do that we don’t even think about,” said Cynthia Weston, an assistant professor in Texas A&M University’s College of Nursing. “You feel like your hair’s in your eyes, so you go to brush it away, or you feel tired and you rub your eyes, or your nose itches.”

Weston said communicable infections like the coronavirus are spread through droplets that are mobilized when a person coughs, sneezes or laughs. Those organisms fall on surfaces in the area of the infected person. The next person who touches the surface, like an elevator button, doorknob or keyboard, picks up the virus on their hands.

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