According to a new U.K. study, you will shake 15,000 hands in your lifetime. Now consider the fact that 1 in 5 people don't wash their hands and of those that do only 30% use soap. In fact, only about 5% of people wash their hands correctly.
That means, 95% of the time or for 14,250 of those handshakes, you will be potentially exposed to all types of nasty germs including fecal matter and E. coli to name a few.
Women seem to be much more hygiene-conscious according to the study with 50% saying they hate having to hold a sweaty palm and 32% saying they never shake hands. Men are much less concerned about germs with only 6% saying they avoid the gesture entirely. This is not surprising as women are consistently observed to wash their hands more frequently than men.
Germs aside, the handshake is said to reveal various aspects of your personality. For example, a soft handshake might say you are nervous or insecure, while a quick handshake could suggest you are arrogant. A handshake can also be very reassuring and can quickly help to establish and reinforce trust. Something very important in business situations or in environments such as healthcare.
There is another alternative available to help prevent the spread of germs while respecting the traditions of the handshake. The fist bump is gaining in popularity since its public use in 2008 by the Dalai Lama and more recently by President Obama. A recent study indicated the use of the fist bump could substantially reduce the infection diseases transmission between people.
If the handshake is your only option, soap and water is always your best defense. Alternatively, be sure to use an alcohol hand sanitizer if water is not avaialble to help reduce the spread of infections and stay healthy.
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