Local News


Want to avoid getting sick? Stop touching your face!

Posted at 7:44 AM, Mar 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-09 10:58:45-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — In 2015, a university in Australia observed medical students to see how many time they touched their face and how that can increase a person's chances of getting sick.

On average, each of the 26 observed students touched their face 23 times per hour.

Of all face touches, 44% (1,024/2,346) involved contact with a mucous membrane, whereas 56% (1,322/2,346) of contacts involved nonmucosal areas. Of mucous membrane touches observed, 36% (372) involved the mouth, 31% (318) involved the nose, 27% (273) involved the eyes, and 6% (61) were a combination of these regions.


The Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization strongly advises against face touching, especially when there is an illness like COVID-19 making the rounds.

The eyes, nose and mouth are portals into the body for viruses like the novel coronavirus or SARS.

In general, viruses will survive the longest on nonporous surgaces like door knobs, counters, railings, elevator buttons, telephones etc.

Once on your hand, a virus will begin to lose its potency, but will probably survive long enough for a person to touch their face.

13 Action News conducted a very unscientific experiment in its newsroom on Sunday afternoon to find out if it is true that people touch their faces multiple times a day.

Anchor Leah Pezzetti was observed touching her face 61 times in 32 minutes while working on Sunday night's forecasts.

Anchor Jackie Kostek touched her face 21 times in 14 minutes.

Touching one's face is a very natural habit that can be hard to break and ABC News Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Jen Ashton says folks need to think twice.

Instead of touching your face, try to touch your hair or your neck instead. Even touching your chin is better than touching your nose, mouth and eyes.

RELATED: Coronavirus prevention strategeis tech us not to touch our face. So why do I keep doing it?

Dr. Ashton also says getting enough sleep, not smoking and getting regular exercise will also help stop a virus.

Most importantly, everyone should be washing their hands at least 20 times. Instead of counting while washing, singing a song like "Happy Birthday" to make it seem like less of a chore.