If someone sick with swine flu happened to be so rude as to cough in your face, you would have a 50 percent chance of catching the bug, according to environmental health experts at both UC Berkeley and the University of Illinois. A more likely scenario is touching your face after touching an object covered with the H1N1 virus. The flu virus cannot penetrate our skin, but it thrives in the mucus membranes of the nose, mouth, and eyes. New advice on avoiding the flu: don't touch your face. But this simple advice can be difficult to follow, since in observational studies we touch our faces 16 times an hour on average. Since flu viruses can survive on hard surfaces from 24 up to 48 hours, your hands could be come into contact with the virus. Your best defense is to wash your hands well and keep your hands away from your face.
As a side note, in writing this post, I've touched my face at least four times. I'm going to need some serious retraining.