Stop touching your face to avoid flu: Study
Something as innocuous as touching your face could infect you with flu, especially after your hands brush with contaminated surfaces, according to a study.
"There are many opportunities in between hand-washing episodes for people to re-contaminate their hands. If a deadly respiratory virus is around, this is something to really take into account," said Wladimir Alonso, from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, who led the study, according to Daily Mail.
Alonso and colleagues picked 249 people to observe in public places on the Washington D.C. subway and in Florianopolis, Brazil, the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases reports.
They found that people touched common objects an average of 3.3 times per hour and their faces 3.6 times per hour. "We are therefore likely to get germs on our hands far more quickly than they are washed off," Alonso said.
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 advice is a timely reminder as cases of both flu and the norovirus (vomiting bug) peak over the winter months.