How biting your nails could put you at serious risk of getting coronavirus: Infectious disease specialist warns the habit is the ‘easiest way to contract an infection’ – as experts reveal how to STOP doing it once and for all
- Purvi Parikh, an allergy and infectious disease specialist with New York University’s Langone Medical Center, warned against the habit
- She warned that bacteria, viruses, dirt, and debris collects under the nails and can remain there if you aren’t washing and sanitizing your hands correctly
- Parikh told The Cut that biting your nails will then transfer ‘all of those germs’ into your mouth, noting that is the ‘easiest way to contract an infection’
- Alec Ginsberg, a fourth generation pharmacist with CO Bigelow Apothecaries, shared advice for stopping the dangerous habit
- He advised wearing gloves or making your nails taste bad with a topical product
- Celebrity manicurist Deborah Lippmann suggested that nail biters regularly paint their talons every four days, and warned that cuticles need to be cared for
An allergy and infectious diseases specialist has issued a severe warning to nail biters about how the bad habit could seriously increase the risk of contracting coronavirus.
Purvi Parikh, an allergy and infectious disease specialist with New York University’s Langone Medical Center, advised that all kinds of ‘bacteria, viruses, dirt, and debris’ can collect under the nails – and this can then be transferred into your mouth when you bite your nails, particularly if you aren’t washing or sanitizing your hands properly.
‘Every time you touch your face — especially your mouth, nose, and eyes — you’re transferring all of those germs. And you can get sick,’ she told The Cut, adding that germs going directly into your mouth is ‘the easiest way you can contract any infection’.
Stop! An allergy and infectious diseases specialist has warned that biting your nails is the ‘easiest way to contract an infection’ in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak (stock image)
She added: ‘There are so many infections going around this time of year, from bacterial to viral to the flu. But then on top of that, given that we now have this coronavirus, there’s even more reason not to bite your nails.’
But kicking the bad habit takes a lot more than the simple understanding that it isn’t hygienic or healthy – particularly because most people aren’t even aware that they are doing it.
Experts insist that it can be done though – and have shared a few simple tips for how to conquer the unhygienic habit once and for all, including wearing gloves, giving yourself regular manicures, and chewing gum.
Warning: Purvi Parikh explained that all kinds of ‘bacteria, viruses, dirt, and debris’ can collect under the nails’ and these are then transferred to your mouth
Alec Ginsberg, a fourth generation pharmacist with CO Bigelow Apothecaries, said that while wearing gloves ‘may not be a practical solution for around the clock’, it is a very good deterrent for anyone who bites their nails.
‘This may not be a practical solution for around the clock, but if you live in a cold area and are going to be moving around outside, put gloves on even if you normally wouldn’t,’ he suggested.
Alec also advised that ‘keeping your teeth and your fingers busy’ is a way to prevent yourself from unconsciously putting your fingers in your mouth.
‘Chewing gum is a good way to keep your teeth gnawing on something that is not your nails,’ he said.
‘The same idea applies to your fingers. I tell people that something as simple as fidgeting with a rubber band in your fingers will keep you from bringing them to your face. If you have any fidget spinners left from the craze a few years ago… those work great too!’
Esthetician Renee Rouleau agrees that keeping your fingers busy is a great way to ensure they stay away from your face – a habit that she helps people who pick at their blemishes to break.
The skincare pro even launched a special gadget – the No Picking! Twisty Toy – to keep fingers occupied and away from the face, noting: ‘[It is] ideal to use when at your desk, watching a movie or the TV or anytime you feel the need to touch your face.’
Celebrity manicurist Deborah Lippmann says that she has seen ‘most people find success in stopping nail biting when they get or give themselves a manicure every four days or so’.
But simply coating your nails with a fresh layer of polish isn’t enough to remove the temptation to bite, Deborah warns, explaining that you need to make sure any area of the nail that might draw you in to chew should be taken care of.
‘You want to keep the edges of the nails completely smooth using a gentle nail file (nothing too abrasive),’ she suggests. ‘Do not rip tear or bite the nail or the cuticle.
‘Keep the cuticle pushed back using a cuticle remover, cleaning the nail off and using a very sharp nipper if there are any hangnails to remove.
‘When using your nipper it is important to see the piece of skin you want to remove, place your nipper close but not right on the skin to avoid wounds. Keep your hand in one place and close the nipper and open the nipper.
‘Do not close the nipper and pull the skin upwards. This is imperative to keep the cuticle connection. Do not cut the cuticle.’
If those solutions don’t work, Alec advises trying ‘a bitter nail paint’ that will make the ends of your fingers taste ‘disgusting’.
‘There are plenty of products on the market that are safe to put on your skin and nailbeds that make them taste disgusting,’ he said. ‘Orly No Bite is probably the most well known. Vinegar works too if you are trying to stick with things you have at home.’
How to STOP touching your face: Expert reveals his top tips to beating the ‘dangerous’ everyday habit that can spread coronavirus by wearing gloves or folding your hands instead
By Jessica Rach for MailOnline
- Expert has revealed how the practice of touching your face can be instrumental in spreading diseases like coronavirus
- Dr. James Cherry, an infectious diseases expert at UCLA, advised wearing gloves or using a sterile contraption to touch your face
- Author Martin Grunwald revealed politicians are extensively trained not to touch their face as it carries negative connotations and distracts from speeches
An expert has revealed how touching your face regularly could play a major role in the spread of diseases like coronavirus.
Dr. James Cherry, an infectious diseases expert at UCLA, has warned that the masks worn by many in the hopes of protecting themselves from the virus won’t actually help if you still touch your eyes or other crevices – a common way to contract a virus.
He says that the regular movement, which comes naturally to most, is something which should be avoided, and advises wearing gloves to make you more conscious of your movements, or keeping the hands occupied by folding them.
Martin Grunwald, who wrote a book about touch perception entitled Homo hapticus, reveals that politicians are ‘trained extensively’ to not to touch their face, explaining that ‘self-touch frequency’ is a ‘negative affect’ and shown to distract attention from a public speech.
Dr. James Cherry, an infectious diseases expert at UCLA has shared top tips for how to stop the ‘dangerous’ habit of touching your face regularly, including wearing gloves (stock image)
Speaking to the LA Times, Dr Cherry said: ‘Surgical masks don’t cover the eyes. And people wearing masks can sometimes get an itch on their nose, and if they rub their nose through their mask, they’re likely to rub their eyes.
‘Viruses are very happy infecting through the eyes as well as through nose and mouth’.
He says: ‘Consider wearing gloves. The latest food safety gloves can also be used on smartphone screens, and gloves might make you more conscious about touching your face.’
Nathan Winch, an award-winning entrepreneur who has sold a successful hand sanitizer company, told Femail: ‘Viruses can enter your body through the mouth, nose or eyes so each time you rub your eyes when you’re tired, put your hand to your mouth to stifle a yawn or scratch your nose, you run the risk of inviting coronavirus in.
‘The virus can latch on to mucus membranes, going on to destroy cells in the throat, nose or sinuses. From there, in someone with a weakened immune system, it can go on to attack the lungs and kidneys.
‘If you feel an itch that must be scratched, have makeup to apply or contact lenses or dentures, try and make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before and after you touch your face. You might also want to consider wearing sterilised gloves if you’re on the move and carry a hand sanitiser if possible.’
Meanwhile Homo hapticus author Martin revealed that politicians are extensively trained not to touch their face as it carries negative connotations and distracts from speeches.
In his book, he writes: ‘Every human being spontaneously touches its eyes, cheeks, chin and mouth manifold every day. These spontaneous facial self-touches (sFST) are elicited with little or no awareness and are distinct from gestures and instrumental acts.
‘Self-touch frequency has been shown to be influenced by negative affect and attention distraction and may be involved in regulating emotion and working memory functions.
‘Politicians, for example, learn through extensive training to restrain from touching their face during public speaking’.
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