13 Ways To Try To Help Prevent The Spreading Of Germs

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Let’s band together and stop being so darn gross.

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As the coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, we were recently inspired to ask the BuzzFeed Community to tell us about how they’re personally trying to stop germs from spreading. Here are some tips to try and stay healthy and germ-free.


Purchase gloves to wear on public transportation or while shopping. This should help prevent transferring your germs to other surfaces.


This way, you won’t pick up germs from your environment and then expose your very precious face to them later on in the day.

You can choose from disposable ($10.45) or machine-washable ($12.59) options from Amazon.


Wear a turtleneck and use it as a makeshift divider between your fingers and your face. Have an itch on your nose? Use the clean inside of the sweater to scratch it.


“Today I wore a turtleneck sweater. If I want to touch my face, I pull up the collar and use the inside to touch my face. Obviously not a perfect system at all, but you do what you can right?” —thelategreatnobody

Don’t own a turtleneck? Fear not! Check out this cute (and affordable) one from Amazon for $25.88+ (available in sizes S–XL and 17 styles).


Focus on the safety of others instead of only yourself. For example, if you have a terrible cold and you’ve been sneezing for two days, maybe don’t go out to dinner or to the office. Snuggle up and watch Netflix instead! Your friends and family will thank you. TL;DR: STAY HOME.

The Walt Disney Company

“My technique is to focus more on protecting other people rather than protecting myself. Sure, that means avoiding certain surfaces or people to avoid contaminating myself, but a lot of times I wash my hands to avoid spreading germs that I may have picked up, or staying home so that whatever I have is contained to one person instead of infecting 10 people who may each infect 10 more people.” —google_103671005060033734068

“I actually learned yesterday I had the flu so I begrudgingly used my personal/sick days from work (I was saving these!) for the rest of the week so as not to spread germs in the office. Then I remembered I still had a couple of Love is Blind episodes I needed to watch and all was well.” —greenarcher96


Disinfect anything you typically find yourself touching throughout the day, such as your handbag or backpack, keys, door knobs, your steering wheel, and definitely your phone.

phonesoap / Via instagram.com

“Disinfect your purse, keys, steering wheel too.” —tinad4d632b1ea

You can wipe down these items with a disinfectant wipe or give ’em a once-over with some sanitizing spray. If you want to take things to the next level, I’d consider investing in a PhoneSoap UV sanitizer ($119.95) to toss your phone into for a quick 10 minutes after you get home to get rid of the grime that’s surely found its way onto your screen.


Wash your hands! I shouldn’t need to tell you this, but it’s the BEST way to keep germs at bay. Make sure you’re using soap and water for at least 20 seconds (or two rounds of singing “Happy Birthday”).


“Stop being dirty little hamsters and wash your hands, don’t use your hands around your orifices, don’t touch anything if you’re sick, and stay out of congregated places. Stop being dirty and selfish and maybe we can protect ourselves” —mandyciampa

The CDC also has a great video with the answers to all of your hand-washing questions. For example, you can use any kind of soap! My personal favorite is Mrs. Meyer’s lemon verbena soap ($39.99 for a two-pack), but if you prefer a bar of soap, you’ll also be good to go. Also, if you’ve been washing your hands as much as I have been recently (uh, like 10 times a day), you might benefit from some hand lotion ($5.56) as well.


But don’t over-wash your hands to the point that cracks form, as then you’ll make your skin more vulnerable to germs. Use healing hand lotion after washing your hands to keep them moisturized.

lovebeautyandplanet / Via instagram.com

“Don’t over-wash though. If your hands get too dry from too much washing, cracks can form in the skin, allowing germs to get in. I live in a very dry part of the world, so have to be careful with this.” —loony81

My personal favorite lotion is from Love Beauty and Planet because it’s super hydrating and smells delicious. You can grab the murumuru butter and rose scent or coconut water and mimosa flower (both $6.94) on Amazon.


Carry hand sanitizer with you for when water isn’t available. This will be great for quickly killing germs on your hands after handling things like money, opening doors to stores, or using the bannister on a staircase.


“I’m in Italy right now as a tourist, and I carry a small spray bottle of 70% alcohol with me everywhere I go. I spray it on my hands to my arms after each time I handle something that might have germs/viruses, like money for example. Make sure to dry it up in your hands and don’t wipe it away. Buy the alcohol with moisturizer as to not dry up your hands.” —mhaeye

I know hand sanitizer is hard to come by these days, but if you don’t already have a bottle in your bag, you should def check out Touchland’s power mist (currently sold out online). It’s infused with aloe vera and essential oils to make your hands soft and smell nice while also getting rid of germy-germs.


Don’t use makeup testers when visiting stores like Sephora or Ulta or try any food samples at the grocery store — I know it’s tempting, but you don’t know how many others have touched the same product before you.


“Don’t use makeup testers or swatch makeup that are not testers. I work in a store that has a makeup department and 1 in 5 adult women do not wash their hands after peeing and then go and test makeup out. The quickest way to spread germs.” —monikap6


Keep a fidget toy available at all times to keep your hands busy when you start feeling the urge pick at your face, touch your lips, or rub your eyes.

Amazon, amazon.com

“I carry fidget toys everywhere I go. Since I always have something in my hands, I never have the urge to absentmindedly touch much face.” —allisonistired

Give this tip a try and order these from Amazon; fidget cube for $9.59, fidget spinner ring for $7.99 (available in sizes 4–11 and seven styles).


Or pick up a set of squishy toys for an adorable and fun way to keep your hands away from your orifices.


“I have really bad acne, so I try not to touch my face normally and what I use are little squishy toys. You can buy a bunch for not much money from various places, and every time I feel the urge to pick at something, I pull one out and play with it.” —feminista

This cute set ($11.99) comes with 30 mini squishy toys so you can share them with your equally germ-filled colleagues. You’re welcome.


Simply create a visible reminder to STOP. TOUCHING. YOUR. FACE. Seriously — write it on a sticky note, create a temporary tattoo on your hand. Do what must be done.

Emma Lord / BuzzFeed, Amazon

My coworker Emma Lord suggested:

“The fastest way to ingrain a new behavior is to have it at the top of your mind. Ask people to remind you if they catch you touching your face, and if they ask you to do the same, look out for them too. Beyond that, try setting little alarms on your phone or your desktop to remind yourself, or put Post-it Notes ($8.99) in places you know you’ll look often — the desk window you stare out of when you’re thinking, your computer monitor, your vanity mirror, the kitchen table. Heck, invest in a temporary tattoo pen ($9.98) and write the words ‘Stop touching your face’ on your own hands, so you have to look at them every time you type. Make it easier by setting yourself up for success — you’ll feel better if you get reminded before you do it than if you’re beating yourself up afterward.”

Check out her other suggestions here.


Cover your mouth when you sneeze! I’ll take this moment to gently remind you to sneeze into your elbow instead of your hands or the open air (gross).

The Walt Disney Company

“Sneeze into your damn elbows. It’s better than sneezing into thin air and allowing the germs to spread everywhere else. Also sneezing in your hands is gross as most people don’t wash their hands after. So what ever you touch next the germs are gonna attach themselves to it. It’s hella nasty. The elbow is a nice neutral area to sneeze into. Also please don’t wipe the snot with your sleeves. It’s just immoral.” —navamicealar


Or just wear a Talentless sweatshirt with “please wash your hands” emblazoned on the back to remind anyone and everyone to soap up!

talentless / Via instagram.com, Talentless

This poignant sweatshirt ($124) just made me giggle, OK? It’s great advice for all year long and you can push your priorities on people without having to speak to them! Sounds like a reasonable purchase to me.

As for me? I’ll be using this time as an excuse to spend an extra hour in my bubble bath.

Jonas Brothers / Blackhand Cinema

Submissions have been edited for length and clarity.

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