Can face-and smartphone-touching behaviors be altered with personal hygiene reminders during the COVID-19 pandemic period? An observational study

Lok Yee Joyce Li, Shin Yi Wang, Jinn Moon Yang, Chih Jou Chen, Cheng Yu Tsai, Lucas Yee Yan Wu, Cheng Jung Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

As part of the new measures to prevent the spread of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19), medical students were advised to wear a mask in class and avoid touching their faces. Few studies have analyzed the influence of health education on the frequency of face-and smartphone-touching behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic. This research compared the frequency of in-class face-and smartphone-touching behaviors of medical students before and after the delivery of personal hygiene education during the COVID-19 pandemic. A behavioral observational study was conducted involving medical students at Taipei Medical University. Eighty medical students were recruited during a lecture on otorhinolaryngology. All medical students were required to wear a mask. Their face-and smartphone-touching behavior was observed by viewing the 4k resolution video tape recorded in class. The recording lasted for 2 h, comprising 1 h prior to the health educational reminder and 1 h afterwards. The frequencies of hand-to-face contact and hand-to-smartphone contact were analyzed before and after the delivery of health education em-phasizing personal hygiene. Comprehensive health education and reminders effectively reduce the rate of face-and smartphone-touching behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10038
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Volume18
Issue number19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Face touching
  • Mask
  • Smartphone touching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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