Avoid the Flu: Stop Touching Your Face!

6:01 PM, Jan 14, 2013   |    comments
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Nationwide, 47 states say they are seeing widespread cases of the flu. Experts say the flu vaccine is about 67 percent effective. If you get the flu after getting the shot, symptoms are typically milder.

In North Carolina, the flu is striking every county. Yet, the virus did decline slightly this past week. As of January 10, there were 17 reported flu deaths, including 14 people older than 65. Local public health departments have enough vaccine supply right now.

You've heard about the importance of washing your hands and covering your cough to avoid getting sick. However, a new study says touching your face too often during the day can also spread germs from your hands into your mouth, nose or ears.

While typing at a public computer today at the library, patron Matt Newland touched his face repeatedly, without even realizing it. He told WFMY News 2, "You have to be aware of what you're doing. Sometimes we are not aware. Guilty!"

Another patron, Leonard Childress, said, "You don't think sometimes. You see something - you scratch or touch or your face like I am not. You're just not aware. But, you have to be aware. Because there are millions of germs living on your hands."

Nearly every person WFMY News 2 observed touched his or her face multiple times within a few minutes. You might call it habit, or just human behavior. However, during flu season, you need to be aware.

A recent study found people touch their faces more than three times every hour. During a typical work day, that means you touch your face about 30 times.

Even if you are vigilant about washing your hands or using hand sanitizer, you probably don't clean your hands thirty times in a day. Of course, it's unrealistic to think anyone would wash their hands that often.

However, you can make a conscious effort to avoid touching your face.

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