There are certain coronavirus protection tips that we are all well familiar with. Wash your hands frequently, don’t touch your face, sanitize surfaces on a regular basis, and then wash your hands again.
One other piece of advice is, if at all possible, to avoid handshakes.
Why is it so important to avoid handshakes? For one reason, you have no idea if the other person has washed their hands frequently and when the handshake finishes, you may not be able to run for a sink to wash your hands.
Since handshaking is such a common greeting in both professional and personal settings, there must be a way to avoid it without causing offense. CNBC is now suggesting the bumping of elbows or “foot shaking,” which is tapping your foot against somebody else’s foot.
“In China, bumping feet has been dubbed the “Wuhan shake,” named after the city at the epicenter of the virus outbreak, with videos of the greeting going viral.”
According to a Harvard Health Medicine report, you might also want to consider fist bumping.
“Shaking hands transmitted 2 times more bacteria than high fives and 10 times more bacteria than bumping fists.”
When somebody extends their hand to shake yours as a greeting, one of the ways that you can overcome it is by the Thai “wai” greeting. This was recommended by the director of the department of pandemic and epidemic diseases at the World Health Organization, Dr. Sylvie Briand. If you are interested in using this COVID-19 handshake alternative, simply press your hands together at chest level and nod when they extend their hand.
We need to adapt to this new disease #COVID19 https://t.co/SiCL6dX2dQ
— Dr Sylvie Briand (@SCBriand) March 1, 2020
It isn’t just a matter of knowing what to do instead of shaking somebody’s hand, it’s also knowing how to do it. You might be able to get away with something casual in certain situations, but in a work environment, you run the risk of offending a customer or client.
That may be true, but don’t overlook the seriousness of avoiding the coronavirus. Once you get accustomed to saying that you are now doing fist bumps and extend your fist, it should go over well. Just be confident with your alternative and smile.
If you happen to run into a situation where you can’t avoid a handshake, just keep your hand far away from your face until you are able to get to a location where you can wash your hands thoroughly.