No need to scratch every itch; cut the chance of coronavirus infection by these methods

Studies have shown that a person would touch his face an average 20-25 times in an hour.

Published: 03rd April 2020 12:34 PM  |   Last Updated: 03rd April 2020 12:34 PM   |  A+A-

Doctors conducting checkups at Govt Girls Higher Secondary School as part of a sanitation drive against COVID-19 in Kochi

Doctors conducting checkups at Govt Girls Higher Secondary School as part of a sanitation drive against COVID-19 in Kochi. (Photo| A Sanesh, EPS)

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It's so hard to kick certain habits like touching your face. But health workers are asking for it, especially when you are out of your home, to avoid coronavirus infection.

Touching a surface with the virus and then touching one's face is one way that the virus spreads. So how to stop it? Experts say it is not too hard to reduce the frequency of touches if you make some genuine efforts. Here they are...

Studies have shown that a person would touch his face an average 20-25 times in an hour, says renowned ENT surgeon Dr John Panicker. He asks people to assign their partner, family members or colleagues to "point out it" whenever they touch the face. "It will help certainly. You will start avoiding it consciously thereafter," he advised.

Also, wear a visor for sometime every day to get trained again. Wearing masks and glasses will reduce touches once you are used to it. Initially the frequency may increase but would come down soon," he said.

Despite the best efforts, it may be difficult to put advice into practice, John Panicker feels. "You may not get rid of the habit but you can reduce the frequency. So, better keep your hands clean always," he cautioned.

Most of the cravings to touch the face are unwanted and would subside within some seconds, according to Dr J Jaseer, associate professor and head of the Psychology Department, Kerala University. "Try it yourself. All itches do not require a scratch. Wait for a few seconds and the feeling is gone. Sometimes, a touch or scratch would only increase the sensation. You would want to scratch more there and even new spots would call your attention," he says. 

"A behavioural change requires a conscious effort. And it would not be that difficult when it may cost your health or even life. Touching one's face is an automatic mannerism and the tendency increases when you are asked to stop it," says Dr. Rajeev Kumar N, associate professor, School of Behavioural Sciences, Mahatma Gandhi University.

"It will take great effort to win over some habits like this. An inhibitory behaviour should develop from within. But it can be achieved if you train your mind. Think about the consequences. Keep telling yourself that you can control it. Twice a day tell your mind DON'T TOUCH at least ten times. Do it before going out of your home. Your brain will get the message," he says.

"There is a perception that face mask would make it difficult for the hands to touch the nose. But for some persons it would increase the chances since they would try to adjust the mask quite often," according to Rajeev Kumar.

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