A vaccine for the Wuhan virus or COVID-19 is months away. In the meantime, the best advice we’ve been getting from health experts is to wear a mask and wash our hands with soap for 20 seconds to avoid the virus.
However, there is one other hygiene tip that most people constantly forget – don’t touch your face!
People self-inoculate germs from fingers to face
For years, flu researchers have advised people to stop touching their faces during cold and flu season, especially if they are out in public spaces.
Everytime you touch your mouth, nose or eyes, you transfer bacteria or viruses there from whatever contaminated surface your fingers have come in contact with. This is the primary way that certain bacteria and viruses spread apart from airborne transmission.
So, even if you were to wash your hands regularly, there are plenty of opportunities to re-contaminate your hands in between when in public spaces.
Face touching – a hard habit to break
Most people touch their faces whether they know it or not. Whether it’s scratching an itch, rubbing the nose or even brushing hair off your face for a few selfies, we can’t seem to keep our hands away from our faces.
Studies have shown that we can touch our faces over 20 times per hour and may touch public surfaces 3 times an hour on average.
COVID-19 in public spaces
Public surfaces that we touch – such as shopping trolleys, self-checkout machines or public toilets – can be covered in greasy bio-films brimming with bacteria. Health experts claim that COVID-19 can survive on these types of surfaces for several hours or more.
So, the next time you wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds, try to avoid touching public surfaces and your face until the next hand wash!