As the new coronavirus spreads across the globe, people are staying 6 feet (1.8 meters) apart, washing their hands and avoiding touching their faces. Or at least they’re trying to.
Ignoring an itchy nose or hair in your eyes is easier said than done. Even professionals who should know better get caught by the impulse.
If you can tune out the noise of the widespread panic around the new coronavirus, the advice from the World Health Organization (WHO) on how to protect yourself from COVID-19 is simple: stay home if you’re sick, don’t get too close to anyone who’s coughing or sneezing, wash your hands a lot, and stop touching your face so much. But honestly, that last bit of advice is often easier said than done.
- Be mindful of just how much you touch your face throughout the day.
- Identify your own personal face-touching triggers.
- Find other behaviors to do when you want to touch your face.
- Keep in mind that not touching your face is only one way to protect yourself.
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.
Keep your hands busy
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.