The average person touches their face 23 times an hour, making it the most habit we have when you think about it.
This has become a huge problem during this COVID-19 pandemic, which we have been told is easily spread through face touching…
Doctors and scientists having been pleading with the public to self-isolate and to wash hands often in order to stop the spread. This is the key- prevention, says Jim Pomerantz, is a professor of psychological sciences at Rice University in Houston, and chair of the Psychonomic Society governing board.
Jim says, “The thing that’s become totally clear, if it wasn’t clear already, is that viruses are spread through human behaviour.”
“Typically we’ll do something like shaking someone’s hand and then failing to wash our hands properly, followed by touching our faces and then we’re off to the races with an infection and symptoms that will show up in two to14 days. It’s much better to prevent an infection than to try to deal with it after the fact, and that’s the purpose of our work here.”
Doctors, including Pomerantz say that avoiding touching your face is more effective than any other medical intervention for stopping this virus…
Pomerantz and his fellow researchers developed a list of recommendations (also available online) and include the following:
– Increase awareness. Ask a partner to tell you when you touch your face, wear perfume or bracelets to remind you not to touch your face, and/or carry a pen and paper to record how many times you touch your face each day.
– Help others. Think of the people you are trying to protect by not touching your face, and gently remind others when you notice them touching their face.
– Do other things with your hands. Put your hands in your pockets, hold a ball or a deck of cards in your hands, or make fists with your hands for one minute if you bring them near your face.
– Change postures. Keep your elbows off the table, sit in chairs without armrests or in the middle of the couch, and sit on your hands if you find it is hard to avoid touching your face.
– Practice relaxation techniques. Focus on taking long, slow, deep breaths and on relaxing muscles that feel tense, sit in a quiet place and focus on the present moment rather than the past or future, or spend time in nature at a safe distance from others.