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BLOG & NEWS Limit Your Exposure to Germs and Stop Touching Your Face with These Tips

Limit Your Exposure to Germs and Stop Touching Your Face with These Tips

Did you touch your face in the last five minutes? The chances are high as many individuals habitually touch their face without even knowing. This act can be dangerous during infectious outbreaks like COVID-19 because touching your face whether it’s your mouth, nose, or eyes gives germs on your hands a chance to potentially penetrate your skin and get into your body causing infection. To limit face-touching and establish better hygienic behaviors read the below five tips to help.

  • Identify Triggers. The subconscious behavior of touching your face can be hard to overcome so the first step is to understand what part of your face you touch the most and why. Do you pick at dry skin on your lips or rub your eyes throughout the day? Make a list whenever you notice an urge to touch some part of your face and put the reason why behind it. 
  • Cover Your Hands. To limit touching your face, cover your hands in a substance that has a strong smell or odor. A nice smelling hand soap or your favorite scented lotion will help you resist the urge because you’ll notice the smell whenever your hands get too close to your face. Adding a stimulus like an odor to the behavior can help activate conscious awareness of when you’re about to touch your face and prevent the action.
  • Be Accountable. Next time you touch your face commit to an act like texting or calling your friend to tell them about it. Social accountability is an effective means of motivating behavior and studies show that holding yourself accountable gives you a better chance of achieving your desired result. This will also help spread a social norm that face-touching is unacceptable and will turn what is generally an unconscious activity into something you’re now consciously keeping track of.
  • Remind Yourself. Sticky-notes can serve as a great visual cue to help prevent touching your face. You can place these reminders in your field of vision while you work, cook dinner, or fold the laundry. These little notes can help make what was once an unconscious habit, like touching your face, conscious. Actionable, specific, and carefully placed notices throughout the house can help reduce your face-touching habits.
  • Keep Busy. You can’t touch your face if your hands are preoccupied. Sometimes rather than trying to stop a behavior through motivation, it’s more effective to find a replacement behavior that helps prevent you from engaging in the original behavior. To help keep your hands away from your face try a fidget spinner, twirl your pen, or hold onto an item like a coffee mug. 

About The Centene Center for Health Transformation

The Centene Center for Health Transformation™ is a community-corporate-academic healthcare partnership that advances life-centric health research to improve lives so that communities can thrive. For more information regarding the Centene Center for Health Transformation, visit https://www.centenecenter.wustl.edu.

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