As coronavirus advisory tells you not to touch your face to contain the spread of the virus, it is not as easy as it may sounds.
According to global health care professionals, keeping hands away from eyes, nose and mouth is equally important as properly washing your hands, although a lot harder.
In 2015, a Sydney university observed medical students on video and recorded how many times they touched their faces. Each of the 26 future doctors under observation touched their faces on an average of 23 times per hour. Nearly 44% of those times touching involved contact with their eyes, nose or mouth, CNN reported.
Like most behaviors, constant face touching starts at a young age for various reasons and becomes a habit over time. One 2014 US government study suggested it helps reduce stress and discomfort.
"Spontaneous facial self-touch gestures are performed manifold every day by every human being, primarily in stressful situations," the study says. "These movements are not usually designed to communicate and are frequently accomplished with little or no awareness."
Touching your face is so common, there's a website that uses your webcam to notify you when you touch your face and keeps track of how many times you do it.
There are safe ways to touch your face
The Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak is a new illness and scientists are still assessing how it spreads from person to person, but similar viruses tend to spread via cough and sneeze droplets.
Thus to protect yourself and others, make sure to cough or sneeze into your elbow if you can't cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. The used tissue should be thrown into the bin immediately followed by careful hand washing with soap and clean water for at least 20 seconds.
Soap and water are especially preferred if hands are visibly dirty, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, and especially after using the bathroom, blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
If water is not available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
However, Bangladesh diagnosed its first cases of the novel coronavirus as three persons – including two members of one family – have been infected with COVID-19.
Two of the infected persons are expatriates who recently returned from Italy. The other is one of their family members, the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) confirmed to the media on Sunday.
Coronavirus has spread to 109 countries killing 3,831 people among 110,087 infected globally. Reportedly, 62,301 people have recovered by far.