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  • Put it there!

  • Ah, wait.

  • Have you washed your hands?

  • Umm,

  • I may have some hand sanitizer.

  • We've been shaking hands since

  • as early as 1800 BCE,

  • when we thought we could absorb

  • the gods' power.

  • Well, we're absorbing something alright.

  • Research has shown that we have

  • over 3,000 bacteria on our hands,

  • including fecal matter,

  • from 150 different species.

  • Gross.

  • To make matters worse,

  • the average person shakes hands

  • 15,000 times in their lifetime.

  • So, what if

  • we stopped shaking hands altogether?

  • It's believed that shaking hands

  • started as a gesture to show

  • you meant no harm to others.

  • This was done by reaching out the right hand

  • where your weapon would normally be,

  • and showing that it was empty.

  • The classic hand movement of up and down

  • could have been a way to show there were

  • no knives or daggers hidden on the arm.

  • See? Nothing up my sleeve.

  • Since then,

  • it's become a gesture of good faith

  • and commitment,

  • often used when closing a deal.

  • And that's just scratching the surface

  • of why we shake hands.

  • Cultures around the world have

  • different variations of who shakes hands

  • and how,

  • but all involve getting touchy-feely,

  • which isn't doing much good for our health.

  • When we shake hands,

  • and our hands have large amounts of bacteria

  • or viruses on them,

  • we spread the bacteria or viruses

  • to the people we shake hands with.

  • This increases the chances

  • of people getting sick.

  • But let's say you just washed your hands.

  • Great!

  • But it doesn't mean much

  • if the other person didn't.

  • So the bacteria-train keeps on chugging.

  • The transmission of common colds

  • and the flu

  • have both been linked to handshakes.

  • And the longer the handshake,

  • the higher the odds of catching something.

  • Most doctors agree

  • that cutting out handshakes

  • would hugely benefit our health.

  • But is it that easy?

  • We're not just taking away a gesture.

  • We're taking away a concept

  • that's been ingrained in our cultures

  • for centuries.

  • So, we need to find a replacement.

  • What if we lived in a world where,

  • after you secured a multi-billion dollar deal,

  • everyone in the meeting high-fived?

  • Well, good news.

  • High fives transmit half as much bacteria

  • as a standard handshake.

  • And if you want to really seal the deal,

  • fist bumps transmit even fewer bacteria.

  • What if our greetings

  • didn't involve touching at all?

  • Hmmm,

  • That wouldn't work for me.

  • I'm a hugger!

  • What if, in the future,

  • we just tipped our hats?

  • No, we'd need to bring top hats

  • back into fashion for that.

  • What about saluting?

  • Or the peace sign

  • that was all the rage in the 60s, man?

  • We could bow,

  • wave,

  • or do the namaste ritual.

  • If it were up to us,

  • we'd be using the Vulcan

  • live long and prospergesture.

  • "That hurts worse than the uniform."

  • So could we do it?

  • Sure we could.

  • Researchers at Carleton University in Ottawa

  • say that we're living in a time of

  • heightened disease awareness

  • called a "pandemic culture".

  • It's changing the way we behave in public,

  • interact with each other,

  • and it's making us aware that

  • everything we touch

  • is covered in microbes.

  • So, how would we get people

  • to stop shaking hands?

  • Well, consider this.

  • Smoking used to be a cultural norm,

  • but as research showed its health risks,

  • and public education campaigns educated us

  • about the dangers of smoking,

  • the norm changed.

  • Not smoking is now the cultural norm.

  • What if we used this model

  • to change people's tendency to shake hands

  • into some other form of greeting?

  • Mass media and the internet

  • would make it easy to spread information

  • about the danger of shaking hands.

  • This would encourage people

  • to adopt other practices.

  • Agencies such as the United Nations,

  • the World Health Organization,

  • and the Centers for Disease Control

  • could agree on practices

  • to replace handshakes that would

  • transmit less bacteria

  • and viruses between people.

  • And if we really wanted to guarantee

  • that people would change their greetings,

  • legislation could discourage

  • or downright prohibit

  • the use of handshakes.

  • We know that we need a way

  • to connect with each other.

  • The physical contact of shaking hands

  • is a tried and true method

  • used in both formal

  • and informal situations.

  • But there are other ways we can connect,

  • assess each other,

  • and indicate genuine intentions.

  • If we stopped shaking hands,

  • it would be safer for everyone.

  • But why stop at handshakes?

  • There are plenty of other ways

  • that germs spread.

  • What if we went to the extreme,

  • and held in every single one of our sneezes?

  • Well, that's a story for another WHAT IF.

Put it there!

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B1 shaking bacteria gesture transmit norm smoking

What If We Stopped Shaking Hands?

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/04/04
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