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As society digs into its battle against COVID-19, a health researcher at Ball State University recommends behaviors that to adapt as soon as possible to avoid illness.

“Our society is more diverse than ever, and we have developed a tolerance for a variety of behaviors due to greater amalgamation of cultures, traditions, etiquettes, and norms,” said Jagdish Khubchandani, a health science professor. “In general, we tend to ignore unhealthy and unsanitary behaviors in the guise of other peoples’ choice, personality type, family habits, or culture.

“During and after the current pandemic crisis, we need greater awareness, collective action, and common civic behaviors driven by scientific evidence on the transmission of emerging infectious disease agents such as coronaviruses. We must also not hesitate from educating or questioning family members, colleagues, and the general public on behaviors that pose danger to self and society.”

Given the current evidence on mechanisms of transmission and action of COVID-19, Khubchandani offers up 13 behaviors and habits to be embraced:

  1. Take regular showers. While people are sheltering in place, some may neglect daily routines, but showering is a must because COVID-19 can live on surfaces for days.
  2. Keep your clothes clean. Don’t wear the same clothes for many days. Do laundry frequently.
  3. Stop nail-biting, thumb sucking, and rubbing eyes.
  4. Stop scratching your head, face, or body.
  5. Wash fruits and vegetables, and avoid eating them immediately in aisles, stores, or car.
  6. Don’t litter the inside and around your house. This could increase risk for household members, while littering around the community can burden the sanitation workers. Recent instances of people throwing used masks and gloves in public places will increase risk for waste management workers and trash pickers.
  7. Clean your car. Dispose of leftovers and edibles, trash, masks, and gloves.
  8. Maintain hygiene while growing your hair, beard, or nails or using hair and face accessories.
  9. Cover your face when you sneeze or cough.
  10. Wash your hands after using restrooms, coming back from public places, after grocery shopping, pumping gas, using elevators, or using high traffic door knobs or electric switches.
  11. Clean your desk space, cell phone, and computer devices.
  12. Don’t rely on carryout or delivery as your sole source of food for every meal every day, and be sure to eat enough and consume healthy foods.
  13.  Don’t reuse wipes, masks, gloves, and personal care devices without cleaning them.