Many virus and bacterial particles can survive on surfaces for several days. Face touching is an important way that infectious diseases can be transferred from contaminated surfaces to entry points on our face (eyes, nose, mouth). This includes the SARS-CoV-19 infection and other surface resident viruses and bacteria.
The problem is that we all touch our face about 20 times per hour, and mostly without knowing it. None of the much publicised and important public health measures address this risky behaviour.
A solution to this problem of face touching was developed by Elbaware Ltd, the SMART HYGIENE COMPANY and inFact Ltd Christchurch (NZ) an award-winning design and manufacturing company.
The product (‘FaceHAP’) is a comfortable, low-cost, smart elbow sleevelet that warns of imminent face-touching by a vibration alert. This haptic feedback increases awareness of face touching and promotes a change in behaviour to reduce the frequency of face-touching, in those motivated to do so. This product complements other public health measures and should help prevent and control transmission of infection. It is best considered as a new addition to personal protective equipment (PPE).
Who is it for?
Anybody at risk of infection from hand to face transfer will find this product helpful in increasing awareness of face touching. This includes all those in public service roles such as workers in shops, public transportation, health care facilities, and border control as well as those at increased health risk, the elderly, Maori and Pasifika. It is also very suitable for the protection of employees, especially when there is regular contact with the public. Businesses concerned for the health and safety of their staff will be interested in this product. It is suitable for all those over 8 years, and there is the opportunity to use the product for health and hygiene education.
This product is not just useful in fighting the COVID pandemic. There are many other infectious diseases and future pandemics where reducing face touching will decrease the risk of contracting and transmitting the disease. It is also indicated in the treatment of compulsive and repetitive behaviour disorder that involve face touching, including nail biting, hail pulling, scab picking.
User testing to date has demonstrated strong acceptability and is highly effective in increasing awareness of face-touching behaviour.
The product is already in early production to allow extensive beta testing, and it is expected that it will be available for sale early in the new year.