Too Dangerous to Shake Hands?

Posted by | April 29, 2009 16:53 | Filed under: Top Stories

(And no, this is not a post about Hugo Chavez.)

The swine-flu outbreak is prompting some to consider what germophobes have long believed: that it may be time to end the custom of shaking hands.

Earlier this week, a Chicago school principal decided to forbid handshaking. And yesterday, after Indiana confirmed its first case of human swine flu, state Health Commissioner Dr. Judith Monroe asked Hoosiers to halt the custom.

“One thing I’d ask Hoosiers to do is stop shaking hands. Try to do that, because that’s one way we spread viruses, whether it’s a cold virus or whether it’s an influenza virus.”


Ironically, handshaking may have originated as a reassurance of safety:

Shaking hands supposedly got started as a way to show another that you didn’t have a weapon in your hands. As it turns out, we do have a weapon in our hands: the flu virus.


A healthier alternative may be a kiss:

People who greet each other with handshakes are much more likely to pass on germs such as flu, cold and stomach bugs, than those who settle for a peck on the cheek, a scientific study has concluded.


“The hands are critical in the chain of infection as they transmit infections from surfaces to people and between people,” said Sally Bloomfield, from the London School of Hygiene and chairman of the International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene, which carried out the research.

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Copyright 2009 Liberaland
By: Joel

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