Howard University Professor Tyish S. Hall Brown, Ph.D., MHS, is a child and adolescent psychologist and director of the School-Based Behavioral Health Program in the Howard University College of Medicine. In conjunction with #BisonIntheKnow, Dr. Hall Brown recently completed a short video offering tips on how to talk to young people during the COVID-19 health crisis.

She notes that children are vulnerable to symptoms of anxiety and depression as a result of exposure to the COVID-19 health crisis. Her tips include a recommendation to, “talk to them often, ask them what they know about social distancing and hygiene protocols, encourage them to take their remote learning seriously and spend quality time indoors having fun.”

In the #BisonIntheKnow video, she says, “While we know that exercise, nutrition and sleep are important to child development, building skills to prevent or deal with symptoms of anxiety and depression that they may face can be invaluable.” One activity that she recommends is called “Five Senses” — an activity often used to combat anxiety, particularly at night.

Her instructions are as follows: We start by taking a deep breath. Inhale for a count of three and then exhale for a count of three. Now look around you and say aloud five things that you see. Next, say out loud four things you can feel right now. Then, pause for a moment and listen to what is happening around you. Say three of the sounds that you hear out loud. Next, say out loud two things you can smell right now. If you can, move around to find things to smell. If you can’t move around, say out loud your two favorite smells. Finally, say out loud one thing you can taste right now. Now, take another deep breath. Inhale for a count of three and then exhale for a count of three.

Thanks, Doc!


In an informative feature published recently in The Hill and penned by Greg Hudson, the local news reporter poses the following: How often do you touch your face and does that increase your risk for the coronavirus?

As Hudson seeks answers to his question, he says that several studies indicate that while we touch our faces far more often that we may realize or should, that health officials continue to recommend that we put a halt to this habit — particularly in light of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

So, while we may be following the advice of health experts so way wash your hands, wash your hands and wash your hands again to avoid the coronavirus, such diligence may be for naught if you’re still touching your face a lot.

What’s more, because the virus can live nine hours or more on hard surfaces, it’s fairly easy to make contact with COVID-19 simply by touching just about anything in the public space. And because we touch our face with much greater frequency than we wash our hands, we are putting ourselves at significant risk of infection, probably without even realizing it.

Here’s what our insightful fellow journalist shared:

One study published by the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene recorded 10 subjects as they did office-style work for three hours in a room by themselves. On average, they touched their faces 15.7 times per hour. A similar study of 26 students in South Wales showed they averaged 23 touches per hour, with almost half of those involving contact between the hand and mucous from the nose, eyes and mouth. A slightly larger study of 250 individuals in public places in the U.S. and Brazil came with a lower average of 3.6 times per hour, perhaps because people are less likely to touch their faces in public. But the same study showed they touched common objects or surfaces 3.3 times per hour — the type of public surfaces that could be touched by coronavirus sufferers as well.

In the eerily prescient movie “Contagion,” a doctor laments, “The average person touches their face 2,000 to 3,000 times a day, 3-5 times a minute.” There’s no footnote as to where the screenwriter got that particular statistic, but it certainly resonates with many people who admit they touch their faces pretty much all of the time. alone 23 times an hour). So, what does this mean for our health and safety against a possible epidemic?

So, what’s a person to do? We touch our faces almost by instinct — sometimes to rub our eyes that may have gotten a bit dry or to scratch a spot that’s started to itch. Other times, we touch our faces to get hair out of our eyes, to smooth in a bit of lotion or to ponder while resting our chin on our outstretched palm.

Maybe the best thing to do, since we probably won’t be successful in totaling ending a habit that’s part of our incessant routine for most of our lives, is to keep our hands “busy and occupied.”

Pick up a book, work on your tablet, begin to crochet that blanket or shawl that you’ve been promising yourself you’d get to “one of these days.”

Good Luck!

D. Kevin McNeir – Senior Editor

Dominic Kevin McNeir is an award-winning journalist with more than 25 years of service for the Black Press (NNPA). Prior to moving East to assist his aging parents in their struggles with Alzheimer’s,...

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