With the Coronavirus (COVID-19) top of mind, it’s important to take precautions to be as safe as possible.

Germs live everywhere. Many things we touch every day — door handles, bathroom sinks, office phones and money — have been touched by hundreds or even thousands of other people.

That’s why practicing good hygiene habits is important for promoting good health, especially during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and flu season.

Viruses such as the Coronavirus enter our systems via the eyes, nose and mouth, so avoid germs getting to your face by being vigilant and keeping your hands clean. And as much as possible, avoid touching your face — by some estimates we touch our face about 90 times a day.

Here are some tips for preventing illnesses through good personal hygiene:

1. Wash your hands and body regularly.
While you should definitely be washing your hands after you use the restroom, don’t stop there. Wash your hands frequently throughout the day, especially before meals. You should spend at least 10-20 seconds washing. The CDC has more information about the proper handwashing technique. The same goes for your body — you should be bathing at least once a day to prevent disease-causing germs from spreading.

2. Be cautious about what you touch.

Avoid grasping shared surfaces such as door handles, gas pumps, grocery carts, elevator buttons, etc. with your hands. When possible, open doors with your closed fist or hip. This is especially important when you open doors that have been used by many people – such as the bathroom or a commercial shop.

Use your knuckle to touch things like light switches and elevator buttons in public locations. At the gas station, hold the gasoline dispenser with a paper towel or disposable glove.

3. Keep hand sanitizer nearby.

Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer that is greater than 60% alcohol at home and in your car. Use the sanitizer after touching any public object. Additionally, use disinfectant wipes at stores whenever they are available. Wipe both the handle and child seat of grocery carts.

4. Wash your clothing.
Much like our bodies, germs also like to cling to our clothes. Don’t wear dirty clothing that has been sitting on your bedroom floor. The outfit you put on in the morning should be clean and free of any bacteria caused by sweat and other factors.

5. Be courteous of others if you are sick.
If you’re sick, stay home from work or school. Avoid contact with others. Don’t share utensils and glasses with others. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or sleeve and clean up immediately.

The benefits of good personal hygiene go beyond having a pleasant social presence. Good hygiene practices can keep you and those around you healthy and happy. Remember to also pay close attention to these tips when your body is most vulnerable, such as when you’re traveling or going to a place where you will be surrounded by a lot of people.

To schedule an appointment at UCF College of Medicine’s East Orlando or Lake Nona physician practices, call 407-266-3627 or visit ucfhealth.com/schedule-an-appointment. For more information, visit ucfhealth.com.