Faith Salie Says “Get a Grip” Over Spread of Germs


By Faith Salie | CBS News

It's about time we get a grip on the handshake.

It's about time we get a grip on the handshake.

It's about time we get a grip on the handshake. Yes, that ubiquitous, courteous, egalitarian gesture. Politicians, athletes and businesspeople alike depend on it to demonstrate trust and respect.

But in the wrong hands, affection can become infection.

Shaking hands is a pretty good way to get yourself sick, not necessarily with Ebola, but with a million other germs that can cause colds and flu.

The custom of clasping hands is thought to date back thousands of years, as proof of not holding any weapons. However, when you shake someone's hand, you may be bearing — or receiving — a different kind of weapon: germs.

We can all give a healthy high-five to Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis. In 1847, he figured out the link between clean hands and healthy patients.

Back then, his call for hand-washing was radical, even offensive, to doctors. Yet apparently it still hasn't totally caught on. Research shows that today's hand-washing rate in hospitals hovers around 40 percent.

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