General, Research, Technology

Why do we touch our face on average 15 times per hour and do not notice it?

A coronavirus outbreak reminds methat we touch our face an average of 15 times per hour. If you continue in this vein, it will be more difficult to stop the spread of the new coronavirus. At least that's what doctors and politicians think. But when they advise not to touch their face, they involuntarily do it themselves. In 2015, researchers from the University of Sydney recorded medical students on the video, tracking how many times they touched their faces. Each of the 26 future doctors under observation touched his face on average 23 times per hour. In 44% of cases, students touched the eyes, nose, or mouth. But why is this happening and is there anything you can do about it?

Unconscious touching the face contributes to the spread of CoVID-2019

Not touching your face is harder than it sounds

Easier said than done. While an outbreak of coronavirus has claimed the lives of more than 3,500 people worldwide, officials emphasize that just one touch is enough for the microbes on your fingers to enter your body through your nostrils, eyes, or mouth. The virus penetrates the mucous membrane, so it is so easy for them to become infected if you do not follow the rules of hygiene and wash your hands poorly. However, we reflexively touch our face and stop doing it is much more difficult than it seems. According to CNN News, a video was widely circulated on social networks in which the California health inspector touches his face during a press conference, advising people not to do this because of the CoVID-2019 outbreak.

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Like most behaviors, we begintouch the face from a very young age, and subsequently it becomes a habit. However, people touch their faces for a variety of reasons. A 2014 US federal government study found that it helps reduce stress and discomfort. Most often we touch our face in stressful situations. These movements are not intended for communication, therefore, they are performed by us almost unconsciously. In fact, touching the face is so common that there is a website that notifies you when you touch the face using a webcam and keeps track of how many times you do it.

US President Donald Trump told reporters that he no longer touches his face. Photo taken by journalists the day after the statement

Is it safe to touch the face?

But if you don’t touch your face so hard, you canis there anything to do? Yes, since there are ways to reduce the likelihood of infection from touching the face. Awareness of such a habit is useful when it comes to avoiding touching the face. Identifying triggers such as a runny nose or the urge to sneeze is very important. In this case, it is useful to have a napkin nearby and it is better to use it to touch the face than hands.

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At the time of writing, the number of infectedCoVID-2019 worldwide exceeded 105 thousand people, and some regions of Italy are quarantined. A difficult situation is also observed in South Korea and Iran. In Russia, 14 cases have been officially identified. According to WHO recommendations, washing hands with soap and water is the most effective precaution. If there is no opportunity to wash your hands, then use an alcohol-based hand antiseptic. Recall that protective masks should only be used if you are sick. Read more about why you do not need to buy face masks in our special material. Also, do not forget about the objects with which you are in constant contact: mobile phones, door handles, elevators, car keys and so on.