Think of your body like it’s a temple: It’s yours to use, but there are some sacred spots you shouldn’t put your grubby hands on. Research shows that hands play a major role in the transmission of germs. Even after proper washing, hands and fingers are rapidly re-contaminated from the surrounding environment.
That’s especially true if you haven’t clipped your nails lately, or if you sport some bling. Research from the University of Nebraska suggests that people who wear rings or keep their fingernails 2 millimeters or longer tend to carry more microbes on their mitts.
The next step: Keep your paws off these body parts as much as possible.
You can use your hands to wash your face or apply skincare. But otherwise, keep your paws off. When you rest your hands on a germy surface and then bring them to your forehead, it increases your likelihood of getting sick—and breaking out, too. Your fingers contain oils that can plug your pores.
Wiping and washing aside, don’t pick your butt. Just don’t. The anus does contain bacteria that could potentially be harmful. Don’t pick at it, leave it alone. After you poop or touch your butt for any other reason, wash your hands thoroughly- means sing the ABC song..
Unless you’re putting in contacts or washing away a particle that found its way into your peepers, keep them off limits. You can easily introduce germs into your eyes or scratch your eye. Those bugs could cause anything from pinkeye to a scarier infection. Follow her simple rule: “Don’t touch and don’t rub.”
And if you do experience itchiness, dryness, or contact lens discomfort, talk to your eye doc. He or she can address the underlying issue.
Recent research from the U.K. found that people put their fingers on or around their mouths an average of 23.6 times per hour when they were bored at work. And they still did it 6.3 times an hour when they were busy! That’s a problem: In a landmark study published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology, a third to a quarter of germs tested transferred from study subjects’ fingers to their mouths. Maybe you should think about stealing your kid’s pacifier.
THE INSIDE OF YOUR NOSE
Quit digging for gold: In a 2006 study of ear, nose, and throat patients published in the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, nose pickers were 51 percent more likely to carry Staphylococcus aureus bacteria in their schnozzes than those who kept their hands off.
THE SKIN UNDER YOUR NAILS
Lots of nasty bacteria, including staph, can live there. Your nails should be short to reduce the chances of bacterial carriage, and such nails only need a gentle nail brush to remove debris and often. And for god’s sake don’t bite your nails.