You Know How Hard It Is NOT To Touch Your Face With Hands? Try It…

Don't touch your face with your hands.

Seriously. See how long you can go without touching your face, at all. Good luck!

It is highly advisable during times of contagion (common cold, flu, coronavirus…) to make a deliberate effort to not touch your face at all with your hands while out in public. That’s how it (the virus) “gets in”.

Assume that public places are contaminated. And anything that you touch may be contaminated with virus. Until you wash your hands (the right way), the easiest way to get infected is to touch your face with your hands (after having touched something contaminated).

Virus will find its way into your nose or eyes. Then it’s too late. You got it… the virus.

I tried not to touch my face | I failed…

Last week I made a minor Walmart run to top off on toilet paper, paper towels, and some other items including a few grocery products.

Given the coronavirus situation, though not apparently affecting this location right now, I made a conscious effort NOT to touch my face while in the store.

Let me tell you, I failed miserably. I was surprised. Maybe it was because I was thinking about it, so it brought on every imaginable little “itch” that I wanted to scratch. For some reason my nose tickled, just begging me to rub and rid the tickle.

You try it. How long can you last?

TIP: If you must touch your face (i.e. an itch or whatever), the back of your wrist or arm is MUCH BETTER than using your hands.

Some here on the blog have mentioned how wearing a mask (e.g. N95 or better) is being most effective simply by keeping you aware not to touch your face. As opposed to possible or probable air leakage around the fit of the mask’s perimeter (unless it’s really snug to your face).

Anyway, short of wearing a space helmet, it’s not as easy as you might think to NOT TOUCH YOUR FACE, AT ALL… while out in a public place like Walmart, Costco, any store – during a time of potential infection.

Any tips out there?

Pandemic Survival


  1. I tried this last year when the flu was peaking. I too struggled. How I dealt with it was to hold my keys in one hand and my shopping list in the other throughout the store. This way I had to transfer one thing to the other hand every time I needed to handle something. It worked.

  2. Use Lidocaine as a facial right before going into Walmart. Your face won’t feel a thing…

    1. This takes practice, but I find it works most of the time.
      My right hand is my public hand for shaking hands and opening door handles, etc.
      My left hand is for me… rub my eyes or scratch an itch on my face.
      Takes practice…..

  3. The only problem with using the back of my hand or arm to touch my face is that I use the back of my hand or arm to touch other things so that my hands don’t have to!

  4. Quite awhile back, I posted a comment that was seen as, and intended to be humorous, about what I had just done. I had been cutting up jalapeno peppers and bagging them for the freezer when I got the urge to empty my bladder. Living in the country, sometimes it’s just easier to step outside to accomplish this necessary task. This I did…….without washing the jalapeno juice from my hands…….you know how that story ended.

    How does that experience apply to the problem Ken has posed? Well……..that jalapeno juice didn’t burn my hands at all, but the same can’t be said about when I touched my…….well, you know what.

    Sorta like the old joke about the farmhand asking the farmer if he had anything to keep his lips from getting chapped.
    The farmer told him, “sure, go stick your finger in that chicken’s butt, then wipe it on your lips.”
    The farmhand asked, “how the heck is that going to stop chapped lips?”
    The farmer replied, “it will sure stop you from licking them”

    So………..maybe we need to worry less about keeping our hands clean, and instead, make sure they are so nasty you will think twice before touching your face with them.

    Ok. I’ll shut up and let the adults talk now…………..

    1. And you know how guys touch their …. well, you know….

      And that’s not to say women aren’t grappling around in a general private area, either….

      That’s why I won’t shake hands with people.
      There’s waaaay too much touchin’ goin’ on!

      1. Dennis and Modern Throwback,
        You guys are cracking me up. I try to remember that old song ‘You can’t touch this” I think it was MC Hammer. Or try wearing gloves?

      2. MT —

        “And you know how guys touch their …. well, you know….”

        Yeah – It’s called aim point fire control… Are ya really advocated for hands-free?

        1. TMCGUYVER,
          Not trying to butt in to your conversation with MT, but…
          Living with 4 grandsons, I Never Ever advocate for hands free. Although it sure seems like that’s what is going on in there.

        2. Tmc,
          I had 3 sons.
          One son, when he was young, would be standing there, doing his business with the door wide open. If I happened to walk by, he would turn his head to look at me.
          So much for that aim…

          (My opinion, boys are messier than girls.) :-)

        3. I dunno about that, i ve known some scary messy girls, but then again i like my kitchen, car, etc clean

  5. The space suit is a good idea,,,,
    Those are probably all bought up too

    1. Kula,
      Ya, a space suit is a great idea. I just don’t have the 20 mil. layin around…lol

      1. Hey, mebbe we could storm that soundstage at area 51 where they filmed the lunar landing!

  6. I have been consciously trying to avoid this, it is exceedingly difficult. I was surprised at how often I am touching my or rubbing my eyes. This is proving more difficult than I thought it would be. Seeing as this is one of the main suggestions, along with proper hand washing, I am going to try to use an easier method to avoid infection, specifically avoiding people, which shouldn’t be too hard, since most of them annoy the crap out of me anyway.

  7. I’ve often wondered how anyone in a helmet deals with a facial itch. I’ve practiced ignoring it and sometimes it works, but it is a reflex action to scratch that itch that happens before you can even think about it.

  8. The medical staff where I work has been telling everyone,

    “If you have long nails and don’t use a nail brush when washing your hand, you’re just defeating the purpose of washing your hands”.

    (Fingernail Brush on amzn)

    They say to keep your fingernails as short as possible to ensure proper hand washing hygiene. And when it comes to touching your face, if you can’t stop, put a Band-Aid on your dominate finger to remind you. Just thought I would pass it on.

    1. You are right about long fingernails. I always had to keep mine short because I played the piano. Then, when I started gardening, they started being REAL short. I always wonder about people preparing food (salads, meatballs, etc.) with long nails. I also wonder about those cooks on tv that prepare food with their wedding rings on.

      1. DaisyK,
        We make the convicts keep their nails short also. They like to get their hands on some dry bleach and keep it under their nails just in case we decide to piss test a lot of them. Not saying all long nails are bad. It just depend on what’s going on.

  9. yes I do. We were on the last run to walmart to see how it was going.

    No bare shelves BUT an amazing amount of stocking going on. First of the month and all.

    I had to stick my hands in my pockets when not pushing the cart (sanitized with wipes). I used a “finger cover” to put in my pin number at check out. Then rolled it off and pitched it in the trash can on the way out the door.

    (Finger Covers on amzn)

    finger covers would also be good at fast food kiosks when we can all come out again :)

  10. I’ll have a couple fingers in my mouth many times a day, it comes with being a snuff user. Nicotine wouldn’t happen to be an anti-viral,would it?!
    I could try quitting but I’d be such a miserable SOB no one would come near me… hmm.

    1. I hear ya nnw,
      I’ve been a snuff user for about 25 years now. Thanks Marine Corps! 😆 I was a habitual gum chewer before the Marines but one of the regulations we have in the Marines is NEVER chew gum! So I started using snuff along with everyone else and the rest is history. 🦅🌎⚓️

  11. I have not had a problem with Touching/Scratching/Rubbing my face at all….
    Always worried about smearing my Makeup… hehehe

    Seriously, coming down off Shingles on the head and face, it’s almost imposable to NOT rub the area that’s healing from the nerve damage….

    Maybe I WILL try that Makeup thing…. hummmmm

      1. Prepper Dan;
        That’s probably not a really good idea, I can see it now, small chunks of TP torn off from the whiskers hanging from the face….. LOL

    1. NRP try a dilute of oil of oregano on those places…I use the 6% carvisols, DD dilutes hers to about 4%. her skin is more sensitive…worst case you will be able to smell spaghetti all day…should take care of any residual dryness and virus a s well.

  12. I ventured out of the house for the first time in a couple weeks to check out the local supermarket (Jewel Osco). I was curious if they had any shortages like I’ve seen all over the Internet. Well other than hand cleaner everything was in stock. Guess no one in Chicago is worried about anything. 🤦‍♂️

    Anyway, I’ve been using surgical gloves when shopping since early January. I guess having the gloves on my hands works as a pretty good reminder. I didn’t have any itches, but my glasses keep slipping down and I’ve been consciously using the back of my wrist to push them back up.

    Side note: If you wear glasses, avoid touching them and give them a very good cleaning when you get home even if you haven’t touched them.

  13. For me, this time of year is the start of allergy season so I do the following:

    Among my everyday clothing is two bottles of eye drops: The first is a moisturizer or artificial tears. The second is some type of optic antihistamine like Zaditor or Alaway. The antihistamine reduces itching caused by pollen and the artificial tears are used to rinse foreign matter from my eyes. These days, I carry these things on me daily at my place of work.

    At home, I have discovered that the itch from within my nose comes from dry nasal passages so I have saline nasal spray that will make the itch go away and there is no limit on how often saline spray can be used. ( I do like the new aerosol saline spray that is much more convenient.)

    I have gotten away from using Afrin due to it causing rebound congestion and more problems of dryness for me. These days, I use Nasocort 1x per day to open up my sinuses. It is less dramatic than Afrin but there is no rebound congestion with this product.

    At work, I carry and use Claritin because it is the only product that works on my allergies yet allows me to work clear headed. When I get home from work, I use low dose Benadryl prior to going to bed. I live in a house with 4 fat cats and 1 dog so there is a lot of fur inside my home.

    Outside, I have my toughest time with: Cottonwood pollen.

    On dry, cracked skin that also causes itching, I use either A&D ointment or Aveeno brand skin creams. Hypoallergenic and they work well. ( thus they also are expensive.). My wife has fair skin so we need to buy and use the expensive stuff.

    1. Thanks for the tip about “Nasocort”. I stopped using Afrin type products many years ago due to worse re-occurrence of clogged-nose when it wears off.

      Fortunately I don’t have a major allergy problem, though in a minor way it can be seasonally annoying.

    2. I too have sinus problems but don’t have allergies. I’ve tried Flonase and Nasacort and they don’t do anything for me. Not even prescription. Only thing that works for me is Afrin no-drip. I think I’m a prime candidate for balloon sinuplasty but I just haven’t taken the time to get checked out. Would love to get away from the Afrin.

    3. Those with chronic sinus conditions… should try.. an herbal that is smelled only… I have used it some but with less consistency that required.. comes in 15 ml bottles… via several different companies… used 4 -5 x a day for 2-3 weeks then gradually reduce back … by 6 months should be to 2-3x a day… IT is SMELLED only..( I need 2 or 3 bottles to keep up with it… but otherwise lasts a long time). herbal name is Ravensara. Some with chronic long term infections have been helped.. Lady who told me about her use had been using as aroma therapy for more than 2 years, had avoided sinus surgery.@ herbal shop in Denver.
      Nasal-chrom also works for some people…
      Allergies to tree pollen,esp pine, honeysuckle, and ragweed. Was allergic to female cottonwood tree of neighbors when we were in Denver… had 8 inches of fluff in our yard…awful.

      1. I found some on amzn and was wondering, is there a difference between ravensara and ravintsara?

        I’ll give it a try, but like I said I don’t have any allergies (been tested) and I haven’t had a sinus infection for years. Something else is going on up there.

        I’ve been taking a couple shots of Afrin before bed every night for the past 2 years just to be able to sleep. During the day I’m just a mouth breather. 😆 Sudafed (the behind the counter stuff) used to help but doesn’t do anything anymore either.

        1. Just open the top and pass it under your nose taking a deep breath.. do it a couple times each nostril.. . I am only familiar with the ravensara. it smells sweetish…pleasant.. be careful not to touch it to your nose..

    4. You may want to use something like “Neil Sinus ” rinse. It is a little messy but the salt water nasal rinse twice a day does work for me. This time of year between January and December is especially bad! :)

      1. Make sure to use distilled water (or boil and cool your own) we don’t want any brain-eating amoeba issues (Naegleria fowleri) !! (cases in Washington State 2019, New Orleans 2013)

  14. All my hints on skin care came during the time when I was going through Microbiology classes and working sterile technique on a burn unit. It was important to address that itch before you don the sterile gloves before going into the sterile zone of a patient with skin grafts.

    Lotion up and prep before you scrub-in is just as important as washing and decontamination afterwards.

  15. I get extra bleach wipes when I walk into Walmart or Publix. I hold one in each hand. I don’t touch my face.

  16. Jesus said that if your hand causes you to sin, it is better to cut it off than go to hell. Does the same rule apply to the WU FLU ? just ask’n

    How about cutting off your nose to spite your face, will THAT work?

    Dial soap, and others, kills germs, maybe viruses.

    Having worked both as an R.N. and a Pharma Rep for the company that makes the stuff, I know for a fact that Betadine solution will kill viruses for certain.

    Stay safe, God Bless, and watch out fur dat WU FLU!

  17. The first time I retired I went off to pastry school. Pastry is made with bare and absolutely clean hands. #1 rule: No touching skin or hair . . . all day long. You get used to it.

    Tips – Pinch up jacket (chef’s coat) to sneeze or cough under clothes. Pinch up jacket and use underside (inside) of fabric to scratch an itchy face, etc.

    1. Sneezing or coughing under the clothing is a fantastic idea! Thank you! That practice should be spread widely. Will be telling (and probably annoying, even more than I already am) everyone I can.

  18. I wear glasses & all the cleaning items being used bother my allergies in some stores. I found that using lotion and/or hand sanitizer in a scent you don’t like helps keep your hands away from your face. Put on before you go in and before I get my hand 6 inches from my face the smell makes me drop my hand very quickly.

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