Why can’t I touch my face?

  • The eyes, nose, and mouth are where the virus can take root
  • One study says people touch their faces once every four minutes
  • Make sure to wash your hands regularly

The human habit of touching your face is one of the most direct ways to both catch and spread coronavirus. Whether you’re experiencing a nervous habit, scratching an allergic itch, or trying to remove a speck of dust, the eyes, nose, and mouth are all mucous-rich places for the virus to take root. According to one scientific study, face-touching can happen 15 times an hour.

Coronavirus spreads via moisture droplets expelled when coughing. If you come into close contact with someone who is infected or you touch a surface that has been coughed on and then touch your face, you’re much more likely to become infected yourself. 

To enter your body, though, the virus would need to have an entry point that would lead to the respiratory system. The virus couldn’t penetrate through your skin alone. It would need an opening like your mouth or your nose.

If you have recently washed your hands thoroughly and regularly, there is no inherent harm in touching your face. 

It’s just as important for those who have been infected to avoid touching their faces as it is for those who are not to keep from spreading the virus. Every touch and point of contact can serve as a vector of infection. This can be a touch to the eyes or nose which transmits the virus to a railing, doorknob, or other public surface. To avoid doing that is just as important as washing your hands often. 

Sources: New York Times, New Yorker, CDC

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