Why one of the easiest ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus is so hard

Wash your hands and don’t touch your face!

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Personal hygiene is arguably more important than ever as cases of COVID-19 pop up all across the world. As the virus gets closer to home, with confirmed cases in both Florida and Georgia, more people are looking towards preventing the spread.

The CDC recommends keeping your hands away from your face as one of the best ways to protect yourself from coronavirus. Recent research shows, it’s easier said than done.

One study published by the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene recorded 10 subjects as they did office-style work for three hours in a room by themselves. On average, they touched their faces 15.7 times per hour.

A similar study of 26 students in South Wales showed they averaged 23 touches per hour, with almost half of those involving contact between the hand and mucous from the nose, eyes, and mouth.

So how you stop a habit that you do without even thinking about it? The Huffington Post spoke to experts in cognitive and behavioral science who came up with the following steps:

Put Up Reminders. Place a reminder somewhere you are often. For example, a post note on the fridge or at your desk at work.

Try To Touch Something Else. Substitute one soothing behavior (touching your face) with another, like squeezing a stress ball or play with a fidget spinner.

Practice Mindfulness. Face-touching can stem from a nervous habit related to anxiety. Practicing mindfulness can help you cut down on behaviors.

Notably, doctors, researchers, and scientists are refuting the idea that face masks can protect against contracting coronavirus.

People are more likely to get the virus by picking it up from a surface and touching their face than they are to breathe in droplets directly from someone who is infected.

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