Skip to content

I'm a Doctor and You Could Get COVID if You Touch This

Remember the immortal words of MC Hammer.

Although it's not the main way COVID-19 is spread, the CDC says "it may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes." "COVID-19 is a very 'sticky' virus, which means it adheres to surfaces and is difficult to move," says Dr. Ravi Dasan. "It is for this reason that there are enhanced cleaning protocols anywhere that people gather." We asked doctors like him what to never touch—read on, and to protect your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.     


You Lean on Public Surfaces

RELATED: COVID Mistakes You Should Never Make

"People tend to lean on various surfaces while waiting at the store or somewhere else without paying much attention to the risks," says Dr. Dimitar Marinov. "Instead, pay attention to your surroundings and if you just can't help it, try keeping your hand in your pockets while in a public place."


Door Knobs and Handrails

Person holding onto handrail of escalator in public

"Optimal hand hygiene is a critical component in the triad of how to stay safe from COVID 19 along with masks and social distancing," says Dr. Rajeev Fernando. "High touch areas like door knobs and hand railings pose as high risk areas."

"Hard surfaces that we touch often with bare hands, such as handrails and doorknobs are of greater concern than soft fabrics other surfaces that we contact through our clothes," says Shirin Peters, M.D. founder of the Bethany Medical Clinic.


You Touch Your Face in Public

touching face

"During the COVID-19 pandemic, one should avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes with your hands," says Dr. Paul Kaloostian. "When we touch our nose, mouth or eyes, we actively can introduce such organisms into our bodies in big enough quantities to actually cause ourselves harm."


Seats and Subway Poles

woman wears face mask and keeps social distance by standing and using smart phone while transporting at train

"Wipe down the surfaces (with an EPA approved disinfectant wipe) you are likely to come into contact with including seats and subway poles," says Charlaynn Harris, Ph.D. "SARS-CoV-2 transmissibility should remain at the forefront of the minds of those choosing to travel at this time." We like Clorox Wipes.

RELATED: COVID Mistakes You Should Never Make


Shared Condiments in Restaurants

Starbucks condiment counter

"As restaurants reopen, we have to be careful if we decide to go in. For instance, touching shared condiments can put us at a greater risk since everyone is touching them," says Dr. Lina Velikova. "I'd advise to steer clear from them or bring sanitizing wipes to wipe it down before use."


Other People's Masks

Man Holding Medical Face Mask in Front of Face

"We understand, you are in your family or friend 'bubble'," says Dr. Charles Sutera, FAGD. "However, picking up other people's masks—or using them in a pinch—can play a key part in transmission."


Your Own Untrimmed Nails

woman looking at fingers nails obsessing about cleanliness

"Fight COVID-19 by staying away from untrimmed nails. Yes, it's that easy!" says Dr. Sutera. "The shorter the nails, the less pathogens can hide underneath them. So keep those nails groomed and away from your face."


What Else to Keep in Mind 

Girl washing her hands under running water in a black washstand

"If you do touch any of these surfaces, wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water or use hand sanitizer before touching your face or other surfaces," says Cara Pensabene, MD, Medical Director at EHE Health. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus. 

Emilia Paluszek
Emilia specializes in human biology and psychology at the University at Albany. Read more about Emilia