You may, like me, use your hands when you talk, when you eat, when you do just about everything. But doctors and researchers have proven that our hands are germ carriers. That's why, last week, I posted my idea for the “palm smile” (aka “PS”). Read more here.
Now, the jury is still out on whether or not my palm smile will replace the handshake, I'm hopful. I am waiting for an e-mail from the person who is brave enough to palm-smile at a job interview. In the meantime, here are some of your responses, and your ideas for a new improved, and germ-free greeting:
“Why don't we just go back to the Japanese tradition of bowing? This way you don't have to worry about any bodily contact, it shows respect, and quite a number of people already know this type of greeting, so we won't look silly. Another idea would be to use the Mr. Spock salute from 'Star Trek', but I guess that would look silly.” — L.J.
“I'm seeing more and more people greeting by touching fists. One person actually told me they were doing this to not catch anything, so people are definitely concerned. I know people who won't touch handrails on stairs. Other people even try to use a paper towel to open the door when leaving the restroom (actually I do that). Hope you become famous for your new greeting.” — Jim
“I have avoided handshakes during the flu season for several years. If forced I try to do it with gloves on. I was born and raised Catholic but their recent adoption of shaking hands as a sign of peace with those round you grosses me out. I find myself avoiding mass because of it. I really wish the Pope would rethink this one.” — Pamela
“I love the PS idea, but people told me I look like my hand, palm out, is telling them to keep away." — Anonymous
“You overlooked the time honored placing hand over heart and a slight bow, as a means of greeting other individuals. There’s also the military salute, just bowing, or imitating our equine friends and stomping our hoofs (feet) on the pavement. Of course, I personally will not cross the line and imitate my dog as it sniffs it acquaintances.” — Anonymous
“As a biology teacher, I have shunned the handshake for many years. As an alternative, I adapted the closed fist greeting of knuckle-to-knuckle contact. The students are familiar with it and it is a ‘cool’ substitute for the interaction many of them need as they enter class. A really interesting germ demonstration I do is to place a small amount of glitter on a few desktops. I then do an activity that requires the students to mingle. Afterwards, I ask them to stand if they have glitter on their person. This leads in to the discussion of microbes. Even after wiping off the desks and all of the students washing their hands, they still find glitter! It gives a visual that they don't soon forget.” — Ted
“I read your handshake article and enjoyed it very much. I thought about the Japanese who simply smile and bow. Maybe they've got something there. I'm afraid your ‘palm shake’ would never catch on.” — Lamar (Knoxville, TN)
“While the PS may be great, it looks like a wave. Without the smile accompanying the gesture, it could be construed as a Hitler-ish type of greeting. How about going back to a head nod or a shortened version of bowing? It also connotes submission to the will of each other, always a good thing in business or other dealings where compromise is important.” — Anonymous
“Bravo on your stance about handshaking. Being a nurse, I know full well about germ transition. I avoid shaking hands if I possibly can, and also think twice about kissing just anyone. For years I've tried very hard to avoid shaking hands in the Catholic Church. How many times has someone next to me been sneezing and/or coughing, and then turn to shake your hand? Next item, I've been reading about zinc found in some cold remedies, and how it can alter your sense of taste and smell. I heard that a long time ago, now I've passed the info on to my children. The other morning I was looking at the ingredients on my box of Raisin Bran, and noticed it has zinc oxide. Now I'm really perplexed, enough to e-mail you. Could you do some research on this for me? I would really appreciate it.” — Alma
“I like the idea of the palm smile. Native Americans were using this greeting when our ancestors arrived. It's nothing new. I've been using this greeting for years. These ancient people raised their right hands and said ‘peace’ to show that they held no weapon.” — Robert
P.S. Don't forget to watch FOX News Channel. And please feel free to write to me at DRMANNY@FOXNEWS.COM and tell me what you think. Ask a question, share a thought, share a remedy — We'll try to answer all of your mail online or on the air.
Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. Click here for more information on Dr. Manny's work with Hackensack University Medical Center. Visit AskDrManny.com for more.