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Contact Information

Justin Presseau, PhD
(+1) 613-737-8899 x73821

Research Administrative Assistant:
Amanda Cabeceiras
(+1) 613-737-8899 x72297

ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2132-0703


Enhancing personal protective behaviours: Reducing facial T-zone touching to reduce the spread of infectious disease

The route into the body for several viruses is through the nose, eyes, and mouth (known as the facial ‘T-zone’); this is true for novel viruses such as SARS-CoV-2, leading to COVID-19. People often do not realize when they touch their facial ‘T-zone’, suggesting that development of effective public health interventions to address this route of transmission need to consider the automaticity of T-zone touching. New strategies are needed to provide individuals with the tools to enact personal protective behaviours to protect themselves and others from disease. 

Reducing touching of the facial ‘T-zone’ may be an important way to reduce transmission of COVID-19 but remains relatively under-researched. Funded by the Ottawa Hospital Foundation, our team led from The Ottawa Hospital and consisting of international experts in health psychology and implementation science are working on ways to support Canadians to reduce facial ‘T-zone’ touching. We have identified several considerations that might influence this under-studied behaviour and the spread of disease during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The first steps of our research will consist of conducting a national survey and interviews with Canadians from coast to coast to improve our understanding of ‘T-zone’ touching to inform the development of an additional protective strategy alongside physical distancing, handwashing, wearing masks, and vaccination.

Funding: Ottawa Hospital Foundation