MILWAUKEE (SPECTRUM NEWS) -- As a news reporter, I work very hard to practice what I preach. For days we have been telling our viewers to work from home if they can. So, I have traded my desk in the busy Spectrum News 1 newsroom for the quiet of my suburban kitchen table. One tip shared countless times however has been to avoid touching your face. While I try, I must admit I do a terrible job of it. 

A recent study found that adults touch their faces about 23 times an hour on average. So why is it so hard to break the habit? I reached out to Marquette University Psychology professor Dr. Doug Woods to find out why. Dr. Woods says it has a lot to do with the fact that it is a habitual behavior that can be hard to break.

“It happens so frequently that it becomes an unconscious habit that we just do. That is what makes it so surprising when you start paying attention to it, they realize I had no idea how often I was actually doing it.” Says Dr. Woods

So how can you work to break the habit? Dr. Woods says being aware of how often you are doing it is key. He says one of the best strategies is that if you live with someone else to point out to each other when you notice the other person touching their face. He says habits can be broken quicker when we are aware of what we are doing.

“When you become aware of it the behavior will just start to drop.” Says Dr. Woods

While tips like this will hopefully reduce the frequency of face touching, no matter what remember to wash your hands and stay safe. ​