Frequency of hand-to-head, -mouth, -eyes, and -nose contacts for adults and children during eating and non-eating macro-activities

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1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Hand-to-face contacts are important for estimating chemical and microbial exposures. Few studies describe children’s hand-to-eye or -nose contacts or adults’ hand-to-face contacts. The study objective was to characterize hand-to-head (mouth, eyes, nose, and other) contacts for children in a daycare and adults in multiple locations. Macro-activities and sequences of hand-to-face contacts were recorded for 263 people observed for 30 min each. Statistically significant differences between locations, males and females, adults and children, and during eating and non-eating macro-activities were evaluated. Discrete Markov chains were fit to observed contact sequences and compared among adults and children during eating and non-eating macro-activities. No significant differences in contact frequency were observed between males and females with the exception of hand-to-nose contacts. Children tended to touch the mouth, eyes, and nose more frequently than adults during non-eating macro-activities. Significant differences in contact frequency were observed between locations. Transitional probabilities indicated that children make repetitive mouth, eye, and nose contacts while adults frequently transition to contacts of the head other than the mouth, eyes, or nose. More data are needed to evaluate the effect of age on adults’ contact frequencies and to confirm lack of statistically significant differences between adults and children during eating macro-activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-44
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology
Volume31
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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