The conventinal handshake spreads germs and with H1N1 virus now rampant it means spreading death. So far there hasn’t been many deaths because for some unknown reason the H1N1 has been quite mild in its human morbidity as a flu virus. But, if the 1918 epidemic, now called a pandemic, is any indication it might just turn deadly. I have made many suggestions in this blog on how this new pandemic might be slowed in its spread because it has generally been acknowledged that in the past slowing the transmission of a flu reduces its severity. When the entire human species is being considered then slowing the transmission rate even a little means enormous amounts of human suffering being avoided and perhaps millions of human lives being saved.
Vaccines are now being manufactured and distributed but this is taking time and it will be months before enough vaccine will have been manufactured so that everyone who wants a shot can get one. The people with the greatest need will receive the first batch of shots available. This of course means the politicians will get the new vaccine first because our modern world has a greater need for politicians than any other category of people. They were the ones most responsible for the slowness of response in manufacturing the flu vaccine and they are the ones responsible for the continuing slowness of response in spreading the word on how to best combat the flu. Therefore it is only reasonable that the politicians should receive the very first samples of vaccine as they become available because we need their continued leadership in what needs to be done and how best to do it. (For those readers too dense to recognize satire I must say that the former statement was satire. Perfectly true statements but satire all the same.)
Here are my previous posts on flu:
- NEJM makes the flu policy confusion worse – review.
- Surviving the Swine-flu, Bird-flu. 4 new ways.
- Mexican flu, bird-flu, swine-flu human-flu deadly flu.
- Bird flu is coming sooner or later—so prepare for it.
- Some obvious flu preparations: masks on airplanes.
- A cure for the bird-flu ! ? Probaway – Life Hacks.
- Lifehaven – What to do about usual disasters and terrorism?
- How you can cure H1N1 flu — maybe.
- Cure The Common Cold Using Voluntary 102° F Fevers.
This new suggestion is so easy to do that everyone can soon learn to do it and it doesn’t require the instantaneous act of remembering just before you sneeze. Sneeze in you left sleeve and scratch your facial itches with right one is a fine idea but it requires some practice to become proficient because in general ones automatic bodily responses have taken over in the seconds just before one sneezes or scratches ones nose. My new proposal is easier because it will work effectively if either party to a greeting remembers the simple act of bumping elbows. The simple act of avoiding a handshake would be effective for slowing transmission of flu germs from one person to another. Simply replacing the usual hand shake, which spreads germs quickly with a gentle bumping of the outer edge of the elbows which doesn’t spread germs because one never touches the outside of ones elbow to the face. It is the mouth, nose and eyes where the flu germs gain entry to the body.
The sneeze in the sleeve helps prevent airborn transmission of flu germs but it contaminates the inside of the sleeve but it was to the inside of the elbow and the hello bump is done with the outside of the elbow so that even if their was a sneeze earlier it was in a different place than the place being touched between friends at the greeting point. Also, the point of contact never touches the face. The suggested procedure prevents sneezed germs from going into the air where they might be inhaled, prevents the germs from being transferred with a handshake greeting and prevents germs from being transmitted from one’s own body to one’s own face. Each of these simple things slows down the spread of virus’s.
There are still virus germs in the air but it usually takes a large number of them to overwhelm the body’s infection fighting defences. The simple elbow bump greeting will lower the risk of reaching the critical number of virus’s and thus prevent sickness.
The elbow bump could become just as affectionate as a hand shake currently is and in some ways it would be friendlier because there isn’t a possibility of transmitting disease or some overly aggressive gripper hurting your hand, or gripping too long which is socially unpleasant.
The custom of mouth to mouth kissing between strangers as a greeting obviously transmits virus and should be avoided. Flu is a social disease and like gonorrhea is easily prevented by avoiding physical contact.