7 Bad Habits Experts Say Are Even Worse in the Age of Coronavirus
In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, kicking these habits is more important than ever.
Everyone's got a few bad habits they'd rather not share with the world—whether it's not flossing as frequently as you should, or easing your nerves by biting your fingernails. However, in the age of coronavirus, many behaviors that may have once seemed relatively innocuous could now pose an even more serious risk to your health. So, if you want to protect your well-being—and ensure the safety of those around you—these are the bad habits you need to kick during the coronavirus outbreak, according to medical experts.
Biting your nails
There's never been a better time to invest in a bottle of no-bite nail polish.
"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."
Popping your pimples
Sure, you can't run out to Sephora or the spa when your skin is looking worse for wear these days, but that doesn't mean you should take matters into your own hands.
Anti-aging and functional medicine physician, Yeral Patel, MD, cautions against picking at your skin during the pandemic, noting that doing so could put your health in jeopardy. "Touching surfaces with the virus and then touching your face allows for easy access into the body via the mouth, eyes, or nose," she says.
Twirling your hair
The hairdresser tasked with taming those broken strands and split ends isn't the only person who wishes you'd stop idly twirling your hair around your fingers.
"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," explains Patel.
Not washing your bedsheets
Since the virus can live on some surfaces for up to a few days, it's important to increase the regularity with which you wash anything that comes into direct contact with your body—and that's especially true when it comes to your bedsheets.
"People who do laundry every 1-2 weeks for sheets and towels should try to wash at least 2-3 times a week," Patel says.
Keeping your toothbrush on the bathroom countertop
Your toothbrush may be getting those pearly whites clean, but if you're not careful, it could be making you sick, too.
"Toothbrushes may have saliva or blood on them and have been shown to transmit viruses," says Henry Hackney, DMD, director of content at Authority Dental, who notes that the virus can live on certain surfaces for up to three days. To protect yourself, he recommends storing your toothbrush upright instead of flat against a sink or countertop, and keeping it at least a few inches from those belonging to your family members or roommates.
Picking your teeth
As tempting as it may be to get that piece of spinach out of your teeth immediately, your health may benefit from your decision to wait.
"You may have a virus and other germs on your hands," says Hackney, who recommends waiting to attend to those dental issues at home after washing your hands—and preferably with floss or a toothbrush, not your fingers.
Save those romantic meals for when the pandemic has subsided, as the virus can be easily transmitted from dishes and eating utensils.
"Don't share food, drinks, eating utensils, drinking containers, dishes, glasses, cups, cutlery, [or] straws," advises Hackney.