This Common Habit Could Make Your COVID Risk Much Higher, Doctors Say

It may already be impolite to do this, but now medical professionals say it's potentially dangerous.

Life in the time of the coronavirus pandemic has taught us plenty of new healthy habits that can help keep us safe. But even if you're wearing a mask and social distancing in public and regularly washing your hands, there's one common habit that you may not even realize is putting you at risk: According to doctors, picking your nose can put you in danger of catching COVID. Read on to learn more, and for a really serious risk factor, check out The CDC Just Confirmed This Disorder Could Put You at Risk of Severe COVID.

Read the original article on Best Life.

Picking your nose

man picking nose Embarrassing Things

It's not news that picking your nose can make it easier to spread bacteria and germs from your nasal passage to your hands. But what you may not realize is that picking your nose could be introducing "germs from your fingertips into [your] nose, which is the exact opposite of what you want," Paul Pottinger, MD, infectious disease specialist and professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, told CNN.

The nose can provide a particularly easy pathway to accidentally infecting yourself because of how delicate the skin inside the nose is and how easy it can be for small cuts to open up while picking—which can give the harmful microscopic invaders immediate access to your bloodstream.

"Once that barrier is breached, you're right into a capillary bed, which becomes the conduit for viral particle infection," Cedric Buckley, of the City of Jackson COVID-19 Task Force in Mississippi, told CNN.

Read on to see which other seemingly innocuous behaviors are dangerous in regards to COVID, and for more on other decisions that could be putting you at risk, check out The Most Popular Mask May Also Be the Least Effective, Study Finds.

Nail biting

woman biting nails during a job interview

The urge to bite your fingernails can strike whether you're nervous, excited, or bored, but it's still a bad idea as COVID-19 continues to spread. Ellie Murray, ScD, a professor of epidemiology at the Boston University School of Public Health, told WGBH that nail biting easily allows the virus to get in your mouth.

"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," she said. And for more on how to keep yourself safe, check out If You Don't Have This in Your Home, You're at Higher Risk for COVID.

Sharing cups, food, and utensils

Happy girl eating luch with her family and sharing food with her father while smiling - lifestyle concepts

Sharing a glass, food, eating utensils, or plate is an easy way to swap germs. In fact, a case-control study published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) journal Emerging Infectious Diseases in September found that sharing dishes or cups with someone can triple your likelihood of catching COVID. And for more regular updates on the pandemic, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Touching your face

Girl touching her face to move her hair back

One of the first recommendations of pandemic safety is still one of the hardest to abide by. Even though wearing a mask—or glasses, in some cases—makes it less likely that our grubby fingers will end up in our nose, eyes, or mouths, the all-too-easy habit of touching your face can happen so subconsciously that you'll likely end up doing it before you even notice.

"Given the number of surfaces we touch throughout the day, touching your face and/or eyes can increase the chances of a virus on your hands being transferred into your body," Vandana A. Patel, MD, clinical advisor for online pharmacy Cabinet, previously told Best Life. "Be aware of reflexive habits to touch your face, such as scratching an itch or moving stray hairs, and try to avoid it the best you can." And for the PPE mistakes you could still be making, check out This Type of Face Mask Isn't Protecting You From COVID, WHO Warns.

Best Life is constantly monitoring the latest news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed. Here are the answers to your most burning questions, the ways you can stay safe and healthy, the facts you need to know, the risks you should avoid, the myths you need to ignore,and the symptoms to be aware of. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.
Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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