Monday, May 11, 2009

Should hand shaking be phased out?

The "power" shake

Hand Shaking Is So Medieval. Let’s End It is an interesting blog post that got me thinking about hand shaking and its place in society. According to Wikipedia it's been around at least since the 2nd Century and originated as a peace gesture, showing the other person you are not holding a weapon. In the age of Swine Flu and other highly contagous diseases should we continue to shake?

The blog posts some interesting alternatives to hand shaking, such as the "elbow bump" or the Vulcan salute.

The Vulcan Salute

However, there are also plenty of cultural grettings that more easily lend themselves to spreading disease.

Hawaiian lei greeting

Maori nose rub greeting

And of course there are more culturally exotic greetings...

Hawaiian three-fingers-folded wave


Anonymous said...

In a word, no and for the very reasons you suggest as reasons for getting rid of it. Our immune systems are designed to deal with the daily onslaught of bacteria, virii, etc. Without it, our immune systems deteriorate and become less effective. You're forgetting that other people touch surfaces all around you - which are far more effective methods of spreading disease than shaking hands.

If you really want to stop the spread of diseases like H1N1, use soap and hot water on a regular basis (especially after the bathroom), and encourage others to do so as well - especially in healthcare facilities.

More to the point, learn how to wash your hands thoroughly - including the webbing between your fingers, your thumbs and up your wrists.

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