Biting your nails is the 'easiest way to catch coronavirus'

Biting your nails is ‘the easiest way to catch any infection’, a disease expert has warned amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Health officials have advised people to regularly wash their hands, to not touch their faces and to avoid handrails, as the deadly bug infects nearly 100,000 people across the globe.

But an allergy and infectious disease specialist with New York University’s Langone Medical Center has now revealed that biting nails could also seriously increase the risk of contracting the illness.

Purvi Parikh says it is always best to keep nails short as they can collect a lot of ‘bacteria, viruses, dirt and debris’ which could be transferred into your body if you’re partial to the bad habit.

Speaking to The Cut, she said: ‘If you’re not washing your hands properly, or just relying on hand sanitiser, all that stuff tends to just stay in there. And then every time you touch your face — especially your mouth, nose, and eyes — you’re transferring all of those germs. And you can get sick.’

She added: ‘There are so many infections going around this time of year, from bacterial to viral to the flu. But then on top of that, given that we now have this coronavirus, there’s even more reason not to bite your nails.’

As many out there will know, kicking a bad habit is easier said than done – but Alec Ginsberg, a fourth generation pharmacist with CO Bigelow Apothecaries, has shared a few simple tips to help conquer nail biting.

He has advised people to ‘keep their teeth and your fingers busy’, for example by holding a stress ball or chewing gum.

Mr Ginsberg has also revealed it’s important for people to find out what triggers them to bite their nails, whether this be zoning out or stress.

His advice comes as a patient with underlying health conditions became the first person in the UK to die from coronavirus on Thursday after testing positive.

There are currently 116 confirmed cases of the bug in Britain, with Downing Street warning it is ‘highly likely’ the virus will spread in a ‘significant way’.

This morning, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital confirmed a child had tested positive in Liverpool.

The child is one of two new cases confirmed by the city council and brings the total number of people infected in Liverpool to three.

Health chiefs said on Thursday that people diagnosed with coronavirus who show only ‘very minimal’ symptoms should self-isolate at home rather than in hospital.

The UK government also updated travel advice to urge anyone coming back from anywhere in Italy to quarantine themselves if they start showing even mild symptoms of coronavirus.

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