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The Lost Art of the Handshake

The Washington Post published an amusing and somewhat sad story about the imminent passing of the "cornerstone of civilized behavior" -- the handshake. Hard to imagine what was once a cordial icebreaker has been transformed to a unneccessary conduit for disease, particularly the flu.

The piece jumps from flu numbers -- inaccurate citations from the CDC claiming far more people died from the flu than actually did -- to excerpts from news stories about elected officials, celebrities and ministers warning people about having any extra contact with them, stressing the worst-case scenarios, namely disease and death.

The most humorous quote came, from all people, Donald Trump who wrote, "To me the only good thing about the act of shaking hands prior to eating is that I tend to eat less."

To its credit, the article does cite the safest and completely natural "antibiotic" at your disposal: Handwashing. Many of us, especially health care professionals, frequently forget the importance of handwashing in preventing infections.

As simple as it may seem, handwashing is the best remedy to prevent you and your family from catching the flu or other illnesses. It will also allow you to stay away from vaccines that may likely do far more damage to your health. Avoid a chain reaction that spreads germs to other parts of your body by washing your hands regularly.

And, stay away from antibacterial soaps too. These products are completely unnecessary and could easily do more harm than good. As a matter of fact, the antibacterial compounds found in most of these soaps are likely contributing to the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Washington Post December 25, 2004

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