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How to Stop Touching Your Face (for Coronavirus’ Sake)

How to Stop Touching Your Face (for Coronavirus’ Sake)
Jennifer Billock

It’s official: Touching your face is one of the worst things you can do right now as coronavirus COVID-19 spreads throughout the world. But have you ever noticed how hard it is to avoid touching your face during the day? Turns out, we’re such habitual face touchers that how not to do it is trending everywhere from The New Yorker to CNN.

Thankfully, the very frequent fliers on FlyerTalk have been perfecting the skill while they travel during the pandemic and they’ve shared some advice.

Why is it So Bad?

According to the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, people touch their faces on average around 23 times per hour. With a respiratory infection like COVID-19 on the loose, that’s especially bad—people who are sick cough into their hands then they touch the surfaces around them. You also have to touch those surfaces–like the TSA security bins— and those pathogens are most likely to infect you when you later touch your face and it’s many welcome entrance points for COVID-19 (or any virus or bacteria which is why this is a good habit to master now while the stakes are particularly high.


So How Do We Stop?

It’s ridiculously difficult to stop touching your face; we’re all so used to doing it that we do it without even noticing. But here’s what the frequent fliers in FlyerTalk’s forum recommend to help you stop:

  • Wear foundation: you’ll be less motivated to touch your face because it could screw up the makeup.
  • Wear a headband if you have long hair: you’ll be less likely to brush hair out of your face.
  • Keep Q-tips handy: for serious face itches
  • Use anti-itch cream: to preemptively calm any typically itchy parts of your face.
  • Wear a mask at home: as a reminder and potential training measure to stop you from touching your face.
  • Use a tissue: instead of your hands.
  • Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer regularly.
  • Wear gloves: at least while you’re transiting through airports and other crowded places.
  • Put on lotion with a strong, unpleasant smell: so you’ll get a reminder when your hands touch your face.
  • Put on anti-nail-biting polish if you’re a nail-biter
  • Use the back of your hand or part of your arm if you need to touch your face.

Do you have any other ideas? Join the conversation.

View Comments (7)


  1. CaliforniaSteve

    March 12, 2020 at 6:16 pm

    Regarding gloves, you need to be careful in how you take them off because the virus could easily transfer from the material of the glove to your hands. You then either have to dispose of the gloves (if they’re disposable) or thoroughly wash them in hot water and a disinfectant soap (if you want to keep them).

  2. AndreaNewEngland

    March 13, 2020 at 9:07 am

    “its many entrance points,” not “it’s” Come on, grammar 101.
    But using a q-tip is a pretty good idea.

  3. wringme

    March 13, 2020 at 9:13 am

    Wear small rubber band around your four fingers

  4. ForSpud

    March 13, 2020 at 10:27 am

    “Put on lotion with a strong, unpleasant smell” also has the benefit of helping with social distancing.

  5. DCAFly

    March 13, 2020 at 10:55 am

    Tape oven mitts on your hands

  6. Runner123

    March 15, 2020 at 9:55 am

    What about using the clothing you are wearing to itch places on your face? That’s what I’ve been doing? Actually, it’s been easier for me to stop doing than i thought, or at least decrease touching my face.

  7. 747FC

    March 15, 2020 at 9:02 pm

    I have found that if I wear gloves, I don’t touch my face.

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