An article in today’s Washington Post, Handing Out Diplomas with a Side of Clean, addresses greeting and handshakes and hand washing. The basis for the article is the concern over institutionalized handshaking with upcoming graduations.

Before the Johns Hopkins University president gives 1,300 graduating students their congratulatory handshake Thursday, volunteers will give them a cautionary dollop of hand sanitizer.

Some notable points extracted from the article:

  • there’s little scientific evidence that harmful bacteria are passed through a casual squeeze of the hands during commencement. One of the first studies to put the handshake under the microscope comes from Hopkins School of Public Health, and it shows little danger from dangerous pathogens (today’s WaPo article)
  • automatic faucets common in public bathrooms are harboring excess bacteria (source)
  • refillable soap dispensers so prone to contamination that users hands may be more bacteria-laden than before they were washed (source)
  • palms, unless extra moist from stress, just aren’t good receptors for pathogens (today’s WaPo article)

Current Information About Hand Washing (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

  • When should you wash your hands?
  • What is the right way to wash your hands?
  • What if I don’t have soap and clean, running water?

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