18 Apparently Harmless Habits That Increase Your Coronavirus Risk

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Growing your beard out of control

It might seem silly, but your unkempt mountain-man beard can put you at risk of coronavirus, according to various experts. There’s been a lot of misinformation about facial hair carrying a higher risk of infection or transmission of the coronavirus, but not everything is bogus.

“Many people are using N95 masks as a way to protect themselves,” says internal medicine physician Roberto Contreras II, MD, the regional medical director of Borrego Health. “If someone has facial hair, a beard, the mask will not make a tight seal and exposes the individual to what they are trying to protect themselves from. A N95 mask or surgical mask will make a better barrier if people do not have facial hair.”

Speaking of masks, here are 7 Most Common Face Mask Mistakes You’re Probably Making.


Leaving your cell phone everywhere

Your cell phone is one of the things that you are constantly touching, with or without having washed your hands. On top of that, many of us have the habit of leaving it on our desks at the office or restaurant tables while having lunch. That means that every time you set your phone somewhere, it could pick up the coronavirus from that spot.

“The cell phone is on a surface, and if that surface has any viruses/bacteria on it, it then attaches to the cell phone,” says Contreras. “People then bring their phone to their face and expose themselves to all the viruses/bacteria they have been trying to avoid. To better avoid this unnecessary exposure, people should always keep their cell phones on their person.”

That being said, read also 11 Most Common Phone Myths You Should Stop Believing.

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Tearing open packages

How many times have you ordered something online and have eagerly waited for the package to be delivered to tear it open and see what was inside? Tearing open packages is a great feeling. Sadly, we might need to refrain from doing that in the house for a while.

“We know the virus lives for different times on different surfaces, whether they are porous or smooth,” says Nishant Rao, ND, chief medical officer for telehealth company DocTalkGo. “The item may have been untouched in the box for days and there may be nothing dangerous, or maybe the delivery person sneezed on the box right when they dropped it off.” The doctor recommends leaving “a longer time frame” before handling the delivered package. In addition, when you do open it, use gloves and wash your hands immediately after.


Leaning on surfaces

Forget about leaning against the nearest wall or countertop the next time you’re waiting in line. It’s not only bad posture you should be worried about now, but it’s also the fact that you might be involuntarily picking up the virus from the surface you’re touching.

“I had a friend who picked up food delivery and he took a photo of three healthcare providers in line—they were standing six feet apart, but each was resting their forearms on the metal counter,” warns Rao. “These are the people most likely to be in proximity to the virus.”

While we should kick this habit in the age of the coronavirus, here are 14 Lockdown Habits We Should Still Keep After the Pandemic Is Over.

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