Wednesday, February 4, 2015

I meet new people all the time and we all greet each other with an immediate and firm hand shake unless we are in a large group where you can step back and simply identify yourself. We are not in large groups all that often. The problem with a hand shake is that it spreads germs and with Ebola, hepatitis, colds and now Measles going all around, well, you just have to be careful.  With the snow comes sneezing and hacking and coughing all of which is attended to immediately by a swipe of the same hand I have to shake wiping all the snot and salvia and whatever else your body just rejected so violently. Now all I want to offer is a fist pump but most women think I am about to punch them in the face. Not a very pleasant greeting at all.

We really need to get a grip on what is a good and safe handshake. Politicians, athletes and business people in general depend on the hand shake to gain trust and respect and to just seal the deal but in the wrong hands, affection can become infection. Shaking hands is a pretty good way to get sick. The custom of clasping hands dates back to thousands of years because we see pictures of ancient Egyptians doing it etched in stones from many years ago. They did it then as proof of not holding any weapons.  Researchers show that hand washing in hospitals is only about 40% per cent.

Well you can wash your hands as much as you want but did you know that you should soap and scrub your hands for as long as you can sing the ABC song? Some medical guys told me that. Then if you grasp the door handle to exit the bathroom with your now clean hand, you are right back where you started with germs all over your hand. Leave the room with a paper towel holding that door open. A recent study found out that it takes only a few hours for viruses to spread from a single doorknob to up to 60% of the surfaces in the building like the chair or desk you are sitting in. In light of what we now know of how easy it is to transmit germs, this hand shake thing has to go.

We could bring back the bow and courtesy, I like hand kissing while wearing long gloves for the ladies.  We could wink at each other but that can be sexual. How about just a, “Hey HI There!”? I guess like the old song said, reach out and touch, somebody’s hand, we just want to touch. According to the American Journal of Infection Control, fist bumps transfer about 90% less bacteria than handshakes. So, Betty get ready for a fist pump to the right  side of your face. Sigh!

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