Proper etiquitte to avoid spreading germs that cause the flu.
Dear Flu-Etiquette Man,
If flu is spread by contaminated hands, is there a polite
way to avoid shaking hands?
During flu season, Flu-Etiquette Man says it's impolite
to shake hands. If a person offers you his or her hand, resist the temptation
to grab it. Tell them politely that as it is flu season, you want to protect
them from anything you may have touched. Never suggest to another person
that it is they whose contagion you fear, even if it is true.
If you already have perfected the Japanese bow, this may be a
good time to practice it. If, however, you've adopted the French cheek-kissing
greeting -- or the Russian smooch -- don't do it until spring. And while
Flu-Etiquette Man is fond of the American Male Hug, it's also a good idea to
put this on hold for the winter. As for hand kissing, well, there's a reason
this has gone out of style.
Originally published Dec. 24, 2003.
Medically updated September 2006.