The "Don't Touch Your Face" Challenge

Visit the Floating Doctors Covid-19 Response Center

From PR Newswire

LOS ANGELES, March 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Floating Doctors, an international medical relief group, today announced the launch of an interactive public campaign calling on everyone to do one seemingly simple thing: stop touching their face.

A recent study last year on hand hygiene and the global spread of disease through air transportation found that washing your hands at the airport could curb the spread of a pandemic by up to 69 percent. Further research has found that people touch their faces more than 20 times an hour on average. About 44 percent of the time, it involves contact with the eyes, nose or mouth.

Most of us unknowingly touch our face all the time. In normal times, this habit isn't necessarily problematic. But as COVID-19 continues to impact communities across the U.S. and around the world, face touching has been shown to be a method for transferring the virus.

The new and interactive campaign encourages individuals to secure, create, DIY, and wear—particularly when and if it's absolutely necessary to be out of the home —a protective mosquito net or veil barrier to ensure mindfulness and awareness around breaking the habit. Be on the lookout for #dtyf ('Don't Touch Your Face') in the days ahead.

It may sound silly, but Floating Doctors—a group that operates in coastal and tropical areas where mosquito nets are often prevalent—sees it as a chance to raise awareness, get people talking, and ultimately have an impact on our habits.

Floating Doctors Founder Dr. Ben LaBrot said,

"Look, we know it sounds strange. We acknowledge it. We're asking people to wear a mosquito net or veil over their head if they must go grocery shopping. But here's what we also know. Touching your face must stop—right now. Hopefully, those of us who aren't working on the health care frontlines or as part of an essential service are social distancing and in quarantine at this point. And if you aren't, you need to be. We also recognize that people, to an extent, will have to go get groceries and participate carefully in essential activities."
"So, we're calling on the public to try something out to knock out the face-touching habit. This is an experiment in reasonable action and behavior modification. But why a mosquito net or veil? Well, Floating Doctors travel by sea to provide free healthcare for people in remote coastal areas. We deal with tropical disease all the time. And we realized that by using one of the simplest tools at our disposal we can create a literal barrier of mindfulness."
"We're launching this campaign as soon as possible. And we encourage you to come along with us. Design your own, make it your own, and try it out—at home, at the grocery story, or even on a Zoom call with your colleagues."
"The goal is to break the habit. Here's an interesting way to do that."

In the coming days, Floating Doctors will officially launch and activate the 'Don't Touch Your Face' campaign to reach the widest population set possible to remind them of the importance of not performing this common behavior.

About Floating Doctors
The Floating Doctors Mission is to reduce the present and future burden of disease in the developing world, and to promote improvements in health care delivery worldwide. Their goals are to provide free acute and preventative health care services, facilitate community development and capacity initiatives, reduce child and maternal mortality, gather clinical data for program and health landscape surveillance, improve access to specialist medical care in developing regions, and promote improvements in health care practice worldwide