18 Apparently Harmless Habits That Increase Your Coronavirus Risk

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Picking your teeth

Since we’re on the subject of picking stuff, here’s another thing you should stop doing, particularly amid the coronavirus pandemic: picking your teeth. As annoying as having a piece of spinach stuck between your teeth can be, it’s risky to pick it out with your fingers (not to mention you’re not exactly well-mannered if you do that in public).

“You may have a virus and other germs on your hands,” says Hackney, who says you should wait to take care of the inconvenience at home after washing your hands. More than that, he recommends using floss or a toothbrush, instead of your fingers.


Biting your nails

People bite their nails for various reasons; they’re nervous, bored or anxious and nail biting is their way of coping with their emotions. However, apart from destroying your nails, this habit can also destroy your health. “The space under the tips of your nails is a cozy place for all sorts of germs,” explains dental surgeon Mike Golpa, chief executive officer of G4 by Golpa. “Putting unwashed hands straight into your mouth is a highway for bacteria.”

In the age of the coronavirus, “anything you do to kind of help the virus get from the outside world into those moist parts of your face is going to increase your risk of catching the virus,” warns Ellie Murray, ScD, a professor of epidemiology at the Boston University School of Public Health.

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Not taking gloves off properly

Apart from face masks, many people are also wearing gloves to prevent them from touching potentially contaminated surfaces and protect themselves against the novel coronavirus. But all those precautionary measures don’t mean a thing if you’re carelessly handling the masks and gloves.

“Health care personnel never touch the outside of the glove when they take them off,” says Contreras. “They peel one glove over the other and then use the inside-out glove to touch the remaining glove. However, I see multiple people touching things in the store with their gloves hoping to avoid contact with surfaces, but once they return to their car they take the gloves off inappropriately and expose themselves to what they were trying to avoid in the first place. It defeats the purpose if someone does not take the gloves off in the correct fashion.”


Twirling your hair

Wait, what? How can a harmless thing like idly twirling your hair around your fingers pose a threat to your health? Well, according to functional medicine physician, Yeral Patel, MD, “hair, if it has touched a dirty surface—especially long hair—can then transmit the virus to the mouth, nose, or eyes via hand transmission”. Feel like twirling your hair again?

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