Skip to main content

Coronavirus: How Not To Touch Your Face

Change behaviors that can get you sick, advises the chief of Allergy and Immunology at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

coronavirus - don't touch your face

We’ve all heard the advice by now: Don’t touch your face to avoid getting COVID-19, the coronavirus.

In a video on the Immune Deficiency Foundation website, Dr. Kathleen Sullivan breaks that down a little. First off, Sullivan, chief of Allergy and  Immunology at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, acknowledges that touching your face is human nature. It’s hard to stop yourself from scratching your nose or swiping some hair off your forehead.

“Everyone touches their face hundreds of times a day,” she said.

But it’s a behavior worth changing, because, while you can’t control droplets in the air from someone’s cough, you can control your own hands.

“Probably more people get respiratory viruses by touching something that has virus on it and then rubbing their face,” said Sullivan, who’s also a member of the IDF Physician Advisory Committee, which serves people who have primary immunodeficiencies and are more vulnerable to infections.

Here’s how to get started:

  1. Notice how often you touch your face. Test this by wearing a large pair of sunglasses for a bit. How often does your hand bump into the frame?
  2. Interrupt the cycle of touching something – a person, a doorknob, a hand railing – and then touching your face.
  3. Grab a clean tissue and use it when you feel the need to scratch your nose or rub your eyelid. Toss it away.

Watch Sullivan’s 12-minute video that also covers hand washing, masks and what to do if you get sick.