Wave to say hello as handshake may carry microbes

New York: A study has asked for the popular handshake to be replaced by a new gesture as the practice is an dangerous as smoking in public - especially in hospitals.

According to researchers from University of California Los Angeles, handshake can spread disease between patients so doctors should replace it with a wave or a bow.

“In recent years, there has been increasing recognition of the importance of hands as vectors for infection, leading to formal recommendations and policies regarding hand hygiene in hospitals and other health care facilities,” explained lead author Mark Sklansky from University of California Los Angeles.

Health care workers' hands become contaminated with pathogens from their patients.

The researchers suggest that a simple wave could replace the handshake for doctors.

“Infection-conscious alternatives to the handshake may be found in a variety of secular and religiously based gestures from around the world,” the researchers wrote.

“Effective development and implementation of such a handshake ban will likely require further study to confirm and describe the link between handshakes and the transmission of pathogens and disease; the promotion of an alternative, health-conscious gesture to substitute for the handshake; and widespread media and educational programs," the team emphasised.

Removing the handshake from the health care setting may ultimately become recognised as an important way to protect the health of patients and caregivers, the researchers said in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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