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Handshaking is an efficient way to spread germs


Active member
Just think for a while that if you stop all that handshaking for a moment and spare some thought over the science behind this gesture, things might appear quite unpleasant. This may be because the human body contains many different types of bacteria. Some are good and we rely on these to help keep us healthy. Others are not so good and might make us sick.

Coronavirus: Here's how to avoid handshakes without offending anyone

  • Handshaking is an efficient way to spread germs, since we touch our faces multiple times every hour.
  • But with COVID-19 coronavirus spreading rapidly, Adeodata Czink, who runs Business of Manners, explains the polite way to avoid shaking hands.
Should you want to make a case for banning handshakes during the coronavirus crisis, there’s plenty of damning evidence out there to help you do it.

The gesture is a super-efficient way to spread germs, given that we also touch our faces unwittingly about one or two dozen times per hour, according to studies, most often touching our eyes, nose, or mouth. Performing the perfectly unnecessary custom of shaking someone’s hand raises the likelihood that you’ll infect yourself with any virus that’s going around.

Indeed, around the world, governments are recommending alternatives to handshakes (and kisses or nose-to-nose touching) to prevent the spread of the virus behind Covid-19.

Read more at:

Don't Shake Hands
Why a handshake is riskier than you think

Research in fact suggests that a firm handshake projects extroversion and emotional expressiveness, may affect the likelihood of our being hired for a job, and increases the likelihood of our being judged conscientious. On the other hand (pun intended), research also shows a vast number of infections are passed from person to person via the hands. Hand washing and sterile technique are now well known to have revolutionized surgery, dramatically reducing the number of post-operative infections and deaths, turning surgery from a likely date with death into a life-saving intervention that's transformed for the better the lives of tens of millions of people.
Unless, of course, we find ourselves shaking hands with someone who then tells us they're sick. I strongly suspect most of us, even when ill, don't refrain from shaking hands either because we don't think about how we're putting others at risk or because the awkwardness of refusing to shake hands even for a legitimate reason overpowers our concern that we might give someone else a cold. Like hand washing itself, the activation energy required to inform others we aren't shaking hands may often be too great, or the need to perform some gesture of greeting too strong to resist. To those who feel the latter, however, I'd offer my own personal solution: "I'm sick, so I'm not shaking hands today," I say. "I'm bowing instead." And then I do just that.

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