Girl…Watch Your Face!
You’ve heard the warnings…keep your hands off your face to stay healthy.
But how often do you touch your face REALLY?
“I haven’t touched my face in weeks…in weeks! I miss it!”
President Trump, during a briefing on COVID-19, underscoring the advice from medical professionals about how to stop the spread of the new coronavirus and other illnesses.
Study: University of New South Wales observed 26 medical students.
Findings: On average, students touched their faces an average of 23 times per hour or 184 times over an 8-hour period.
Nearly half the face-touches involved contact with a mucous membrane (nose, mouth, eyes).
Study: University of California, Berkeley observed 10 participants (5 men and 5 women) in an office setting for 3 hours doing “office-type work” such as reading or working on a laptop.
Findings: Participants touched their face on average 15.7 times per hour or 125.6 times during an 8-hour period.
OUT AND ABOUT
Study: National Institutes of Health (NIH) observed 249 people in the Washington D.C. subway and in a city in Brazil to measure how often we touch a “common item” (like a railing or subway pole) and then touch our mouth or nose.
Findings: People touched their faces on average 3.3 – 3.6 times per hour in public where the possibility of hand-washing wasn’t readily available.
“We therefore suggest a shift in the focus of the recommendations issued during outbreaks toward ensuring that individuals understand how self-inoculation occurs and thus avoid touching their faces… Although built on the influenza pandemic experience, this suggestion should be equally relevant for other respiratory pathogens that can be the source of severe outbreaks.”
Dr. Wladimir Alonso, NIH
Researchers suggest reminding people to wash their hands to prevent illness is good, but telling them to stop touching their faces may actually be BETTER during times of respiratory epidemics.
Australian Study: Face touching: a frequent habit that has implications for hand hygiene https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25637115
- UC Berkeley Study: A Study Quantifying the Hand-to-Face Contact Rate and Its Potential Application to Predicting Respiratory Tract Infection
- Facing Ubiquitous Viruses: When Hand Washing Is Not Enough
by Jenna Lee,