Nearly 90 per cent of Australians are washing their hands more frequently due to the coronavirus.
However less than half have stopped touching their face as often, the Australian Bureau of Statistics household survey on the impacts of coronavirus has found.
The World Health Organisation has warned people to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth, even with increase hand washing, to help stop the spread of the virus.
"Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and infect you," it says.
The ABS found over two-thirds (67.5 per cent) of people were concerned or very concerned about their personal health due to spread of COVID-19.
Despite this, only 48.9 per cent of people reported touching their face less. Around 45.2 per cent of people reported touching their face about the same amount.
This stands in stark contrast to the take-up of the other health protection measures recommended by authorities.
Approximately 87.4 per cent of people reported washing their hands or using hand sanitiser more than usual, 88.3 per cent avoided public spaces and people, and 65.4 per cent stayed at home in self isolation.
Some people stroke their hair. Others put their hands behind their back. But you've got to find a strategy that's got nothing to do with your face during this time.Infection control expert Mary-Louise McLaws
Around 28.5 per cent said they were working from home because of the virus, 24.6 per cent kept children home from school or childcare, and 57.8 per cent avoided public transport.
University of New South Wales infection control expert Mary-Louise McLaws was unsurprised to hear face-touching was a tougher habit to break.
She co-authored a study in 2015 where 26 students were filmed in a lecture touching their faces on average 23 times per hour.
Eleven of those touches were to mucous membrane areas, including the mouth, nose and eyes, or a combination of the three.
"It's the way we learn as children before we speak to calm ourselves down," Professor McLaws said.
"If we're cognisant that we're doing it to calm ourselves, then that can help us identify methods we can employ to calm ourselves with different strategies.
"Some people stroke their hair. Others put their hands behind their back. But you've got to find a strategy that's got nothing to do with your face during this time."
Approximately 16.6 per cent of people said they were wearing face masks, despite official advice stating you only need to wear a mask if you are sick with COVID-19 symptoms or looking after someone else who may have the virus.
Around 88.6 per cent of people had not had a flu shot as of April 29. However 71.4 per cent of people intended to have one - 27 per cent because of COVID only and 73 per cent for other reasons.
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