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Health officials say avoid touching your face amid coronavirus outbreak

We observed a Mercer University class of six students for about an hour to see how often they touched their faces.

MACON, Ga. — Health officials are asking people to avoid touching your face during the coronavirus outbreak. To most people, that's not an easy habit to break. 

In a Mercer University classroom, we conducted a little experiment with six journalism students.

Mercer student Kenneth Lemoine says, "It's just kind of a force of habit."

We observed the students for about an hour to see how often they touched their faces, but we kept it a secret until the end of class.

"I was sitting there and I was touching my face, and I realized in that moment, I was like, 'Oh, I need to stop doing that,' and so immediately after that, your face starts to itch and you have to touch it," says Meg Oldham. 

Oldham was one of the three out of six students touching her face very often while listening to her professor.

"I'll rest my chin on my hand just because it's comfortable," says Oldham.

Health officials warn people to avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Centers for Disease Control say the virus spreads through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, which could land on surfaces we touch.

To some people, that may seem impossible to keep their hands away from their face. For Lemoine, he managed to have some self-control.

He says, "Sometimes, my face, my nose, those things can kind of itch. I mean, but I strangely didn't feel the urge to touch my face at all today."

While more cases of the virus continue to spread across the country, these students want to be more mindful of where they put their hands moving forward. 

Lemoine says, "For me, it's just a general 'I don't want to get sick' sort of deal, so I'm taking extra precautions."

While Oldham says, "It's a good health precaution to take in any instance, but especially right now."

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