All day long, largely without noticing, we touch our hands to our face for any number of reasons: to rub our nose, wipe something out of our eyes or clean our lips. Maybe we want to look thoughtful by stroking our chins or need to dislodge a sesame seed from our teeth.
If you do get the swine flu virus on your hands, you can become infected mainly through one of two ways: The virus penetrates your skin through a tiny abrasion, or, more likely, it enters your body by way of your eyes, mouth or nose.
Novel H1N1 is very contagious, and most of us don't have any natural immunity against it. Also, no matter how often we wash our hands, there will be opportunities for the virus to be present on our hands for some length of time before we have the chance to wash them. For this reason, it's important to try not to touch your eyes, mouth or nose throughout your day. Of course, now that you're concentrating on it, your nose seems really itchy, doesn't it? Well, resist the urge as best you can until after your hands are clean, and only then immediately after they've been washed.
Next: bad news for social butterflies.