Thinking of how to not touch your face? Then this article is just for you. Continue reading to find out more.
How To Not Touch Your Face
The first reason why you need to learn how to not touch your face is that touching your face can significantly increase your risk of infection with flu or cold viruses and the new coronavirus. This is because your eyes and mouth are areas where viruses can easily enter your body.
Furthermore, studies have shown that people touch their faces more than 16 times in an hour. Thus, knowing how to not touch your face will do you a great amount of good. We touch our faces a lot of times and thus, the odds of recontaminating our hands between washings are extremely high.
According to experts, wearing gloves can help you break the habit of touching your face frequently.
Touching our faces countless times every day is something we are all guilty of. Whether it’s an itchy nose, tired eyes, or wiping your mouth with the back of your hand, we do them without a second thought.
Viruses can easily enter your body through your mouth and eyes very easily, and all it takes is touching them with a finger already carrying an infection.
What You Should Know About Touching Your Face
After research from a host of scientists on this behavior, it was found that a lot of people constantly touch their faces.
According to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, in a study carried out in 2008, 10 subjects were each observed alone in an office environment for a period of 3 hours. It was discovered by the researchers that the subjects touched their faces an average of 16 times per hour.
Furthermore, another study from 2015 observed 26 medical students at a university in Australia. The researchers discovered that they touched their faces 23 times per hour. Again, almost half of the face touches involved the mouth, nose, or eyes and these are the easiest pathways for viruses and bacteria to enter the human body.
Also, according to the Journal of The American Board of Family Medicine, even medical professionals, who should know better, were found to touch their faces an average of 19 times in 2 hours. It was also discovered that they were inconsistent about observing proper hand hygiene.
According to Dr. Alex Dimitriu who is double board-certified in psychiatry and sleep medicine and founder of Psychiatry & Sleep Medicine, in Menlo Park, California, people will often shake their foot, play with their hair, or in these instances, touch their faces when they’re actively working. He also added that it certainly helps to know when you are most prone to such activities and try to stay aware, during the meeting, or phone call, or while you’re engaged in work”.
Washing Your Hands Is Very Important
Often times, we take precautions like washing our hands often and using at least 20 seconds to do so. However, this can only help if we avoid touching our faces. This is because there’s no way for you to know when you’ve picked up a tiny, and potentially deadly, passenger.
Furthermore, according to the CDC, effective handwashing consists of these five simple steps:
However, we touch our faces so often that the chances of recontaminating our hands between washings are very high. It only takes you touching a doorknob or similar surface and you’re in danger of infection again.
Dr. Alex Dimitriu also says a new ring, jewelry, or even a rubber band around the wrist can serve as a reminder to increase awareness of the hands, and ideally to remember to not touch your face. In other words, to encourage ‘different’ and nonautomatic behavior, something needs to be different.
It’s A Habit You can Come Out Of
Dr. Zachary Sikora, PsyD, is a clinical psychologist at Northwestern Medicine Huntley Hospital in Huntley, Illinois. He offered the following tips to avoid touching your face during this coronavirus outbreak.
“Be intentional about your intention to keep your hands from your face. A very short pause can help you be more aware of what you do with your hands,” he said.
Also, he added that it helps to place reminders like Post-it notes in your home or office in places where you can easily see them. This is so you can see them and remember you want to keep your hands away from your face.
Furthermore, he explained that you should keep your hands busy. Folding laundry, sorting through mails, or holding something in your hands while you’re at home watching TV can be very helpful in reminding you to keep your hands away from your face. He also added that even a tissue will do, as long as it reminds you to keep your hands away from your face.
Again, he recommended using a scented hand sanitizer or a scented hand soap to help remind yourself to keep your hands away from your face. He says that the smell will draw your attention to the location of your hands instead of your face.
Still talking, he also said that if you’re in a meeting or sitting in a class, lacing your fingers together and placing them in your lap could be very helpful.
Finally, if you are part of the majority who habitually touch their faces, Sikora says wearing hand gloves can be an effective physical reminder. He suggests that you can wear gloves when you’re out in public and most likely to be exposed by touching surfaces that have the virus and take them off when you get to your destination. It may be unusual, but the wearing of hand gloves at home can also help you break the habit of touching your face.
COVID-19 And Why You Must Know How To Not Touch your Face
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), SARS-CoV-2 which is the new coronavirus is transmitted from person to person just like a lot of other respiratory infections.
One of the ways it can be transmitted is through respiratory droplets produced when someone sneezes being inhaled into the lungs of others. The second way is by touching a virus-contaminated surface and using that hand to touch your eyes or mouth.
Although it might be a lot easier to stay away from people who are obviously sick or take precautions against this airborne virus like using a mask, it is almost impossible when it’s on a surface.
Tips On How To Not Touch Your Face
If you’ve read this article on how to not touch your face this far without touching your face, great job. Let’s give you some expert tips to help you go a little longer, shall we?
1. Know Your Own Personal Face-touching Triggers.
The first tip on how to not touch your face is identifying what makes you touch your face.
A lot of people touch their faces for countless different reasons, says Dr. Saltz. Thus, the first step to reducing your face-touching is identifying the part of your face you touch the most and why you do. Some people might pick their nose, pick at the dry skin on their lips, smoothen their eyebrows, or touch their eyelashes. And this is primarily because as humans we are highly aware of our face because our senses – seeing, smelling, and hearing, are basically housed on our face and head.
Many of the face-touching habits can be the result of triggers. Some of these habits are brushing your hair out of your face, picking at a pimple on your forehead, or scratching an itch on your nose. But stress and boredom can increase the urge to touch your face too.
Without a doubt, the best way to treat persistent stress and anxiety is to seek professional help. However, if you find yourself biting your nails more often when scrolling through coronavirus news on Twitter, or watching back-to-back COVID-19 coverage on TV, it might be time to reduce that a bit.
2. Be Mindful of How Much You Touch Your Face All Through The Day
The second tip on how to not touch your face is being mindful of how much you touch your face throughout the day.
Often times, face-touching is done subconsciously. This means people do it without even being aware of it. You probably touch your face about 23 times an hour, according to the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC). It would interest you to know that even health experts have trouble not touching their faces.
A certain Sara Cody, the public health director of Santa Clara County, California went viral when she licked her finger only moments after advising the public not to touch their faces to help prevent contracting COVID-19.
Certainly, the coronavirus outbreak and the constant messaging to stop touching your face hasn’t helped matters. Generally, according to Gail Saltz, associate professor of psychiatry at New York-Presbyterian Hospital Weill-Cornell School of Medicine and host of the upcoming Personology podcast, the issue with telling anyone to not do anything that is a habit is that generally, it makes them do it more. In other words, making an attempt to remember to stop doing something puts that thing in front of your mind. This implies that trying to find the urge can often feel more intense.
3. Bear in Mind That Not Touching Your Face is Only One Way to Protect Yourself.
Another tip on how to not touch your face is reminding yourself that not touching your face is not the only way to protect yourself.
Is it important to know how to not to touch your face? Of course. However, it’s crucial not to forget the other preventive measures that can reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19, as well.
Furthermore, according to the CDC, other smart flu prevention strategies that can keep you healthy include staying home when you’re not feeling well and avoiding others who are sick. Washing your hands often or using alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol as well as before eating and going to the bathroom and cleaning commonly touched surfaces and objects are part of these strategies.
Also, very importantly, understanding that nothing even taking all of the CDC-recommended precautions guarantees protection completely, says Dr. Cutler. However, your ability to utilize as many of them as possible is your best bet if you must avoid coronavirus and other viral infections,” he says.
4. Look For Other Behaviors To Do When You Want To Touch Your Face.
Still talking about tips on how to not touch your face, another way to deal with this habit is to find other behaviors to do when you get the urge to touch your face.
Just like any habit that is difficult to stop, Dr. Saltz suggests performing a “competing behavior.” Thus, when you have the urge to touch your face, you touch another part of your body instead, touching your arms could work. According to her, it’s a method that can help you redirect away from the touching of your face. Another way to redirect is to make it almost impossible for you to touch your face is to sit on your hands. She advises people to sit on their hands for a while to help break the habit. It might take a while, but after a few weeks you really can break the habit of touching your face constantly.”
However, if that doesn’t work for you, enlist items or habits that help you to touch your face but have a reduced risk of infection. An example is that you can carry tissues at all times so you can wipe away tears or catch a sneeze or cough. You could also use your knuckles to touch an elevator button instead of your finger, and a paper towel to open a door instead of your hand,” says Dr. Saltz. Jaliman recommends carrying hand sanitizers and using them frequently. She advises that you use one with added moisturizer so your hands don’t get totally dried out.
Furthermore, if all else fails, you can bring in reinforcements. Cutler says that you can put a frequent reminder into your phone telling you every few minutes, “Don’t touch your face.” The concept of this is that the more you see the message, the more likely it is to sink in, making not touching your face your new habit. Another thing you can do is ask your friends and family to point out each time they see you touch your face and you offer to do the same for them. This will make you a little more aware of just how often you touch your face.
5. Wearing of Masks
Furthermore, another tip on how to not touch your face is putting on a face mask.
Face masks can act as a way of reminding yourself not to touch your face. However, very importantly, note that, if wearing a mask makes you fidget or you find yourself constantly adjusting it, this technique is not good for you.
But, remember that you are still required to wear a face mask when going into certain public places, like retail establishments and riding on public transportation.
6. Imagine Your Hands Are Dirty
This tip on how to not touch your face actually is probably the funniest tip you’ve ever heard but, it is really powerful. Since you can’t see the germs on your hand, pretend that your hands are covered in something visible, such as paint or mud. It is important to know that this is more useful in short-term situations like when you go shopping at the grocery store.
7. Make Sure Your Glasses Fit Properly
With regards to this tip on how to not touch your face, your glasses should not slide down your face. Just in case you need to push them up or take them off, handle them from sides, not the bridge or other parts that touch your face.
8. Tie or Pin Back Your Hair
This is particularly helpful for people who keep long hair. If your hair causes you to touch your face, you can fix it in a new way so you don’t have to keep pushing it out of your eyes.
9. Prevent Itchiness As Much As Possible
For preventing dry, itchy skin, use moisturizers. You can use eye drops if your eyes are dry and itchy. however, make sure you thoroughly wash your hands before and after using the eye drops. Again, treat seasonal allergies to prevent itchy noses.
The Conclusion on How To Not Touch Your Face
To begin with, the easiest paths for viruses like SARS-CoV-2 to enter your body is through your eyes, nose. All it takes to get infected is touching these areas with your hands after you’ve come in contact with the disease on a surface you touched.
Furthermore, no matter how often you wash your hands, it’s not often enough to totally prevent passing an infection into your system. Thus, the best preventive measure is to avoid touching your face as much as you can.
According to experts, using some simple methods will help you break this habit. Some of these methods are: using scented hand soaps or sanitizers to increase your awareness of where your hands are and keeping your hands in your lap during meetings.