Want to beat the flu? Stop touching your face!
Keeping your hands away from your nose and mouth could give you extra protection against viruses, researchers say.
We are likely to get germs on our hands far more quickly than they are washed off, according to them.
"There are many opportunities in between hand-washing episodes for people to re-contaminate their hands," study leader Dr Wladimir Alonso, from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda told MyHealthNewsDaily.
"If a deadly respiratory virus is around, this is something to really take into account."
Dr Alonso and colleagues randomly picked 249 people to observe in public places on the Washington D.C subway and in Florianopolis, Brazil.
They found that people touched common objects an average of 3.3 times per hour and their faces 3.6 times per hour, the Daily Mail reported.
Dr Alonso said that during flu outbreaks, people should be reminded to try and avoid touching their faces as well as washing their hands regularly.
But he added that while it was good to boost awareness, there was no need to be in a constant state of alert because the immune system offers good protection against disease.
The study was published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.