Don't Gimme Five!
Swine flu has us thinking. Maybe it's time to change how we greet each other? The CDC recommends that people maintain a 3 to 6 foot distance to cut down on viral spread. So here, NPR health correspondent Allison Aubrey and All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen illustrate some options to keep you social and safe.
You may think you're safe with the hand bump, but even knuckles can carry pathogens. President Obama wants YOU to wash your hands -- the front, the back, and even under your nails where viruses and bacteria can hide out. Maintain that lather for at least 20 seconds. That's the entire Happy Birthday song. CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta is pushing the elbow bump as a safe alternative, but that can hurt your funny bone. Use your forearm instead. Be like Xena, Warrior Princess.
The tete-a-tete is gaining popularity in at least one Maryland high school. And when President Obama and Michelle do it, it's downright cute. But this is a definite no — even if you hold your breath. Try out the bow, or maybe even curtsy.
A cowboy howdy or the royal wave are good alternatives to the classic handshake, especially in the colder, drier months of the year when the flu virus stays around longer after you cough or sneeze. That means more virus in the air to inhale... and more chances for you to pick it up from someone's hands.
Two kisses or one? Either way, this is a close encounter. The CDC recommends that people should stay away from any kind of kiss if you have flulike symptoms... or want to avoid them. Don't forget you can carry the virus before you feel sick. Try some variation of the foot smack — there has never been a documented case of flu passing from foot to foot.
Snap And Flick
High-five and you might as well be kissing when it comes to passing on the virus. A snap and flick of your finger is an instant hello, and it can work for kids in schools — well-known breeding grounds for viruses.
Hugging yourself might seem odd at first, but surely it can catch on... maybe.
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On the upside of the recent flu mania, one oft-neglected, seldom noticed and, come to think of it, very weird body part is receiving a new wave of attention: the elbow.
Get the latest news about swine flu.
A newly discovered flu virus is infecting people across the world, from Mexico to New York to Spain. It's too early to tell whether this new strain — which has elements of viruses that infect birds, humans and pigs — will trigger a mild pandemic, or a devastating one.
Though Mexico remains the epicenter, health officials and travelers across the globe are taking steps to protect themselves to exposure to swine flu.
Callie Shell, who works on contract for Time magazine, has been one of a very few photographers with personal access to the Obama family since Barack Obama announced his candidacy.