Why not a fist bump? Doctor says elbow greeting fights flu

BRADENTON — Ban the handshake — that's Dr. Joe Soler's advice for avoiding swine flu, which appears to be spreading fast in certain areas of the United States, Mexico, Canada, New Zealand and Europe.

When Soler and his colleagues greet patients at Pinnacle Urgent Care, 315 75th St. W., they look like they are doing a do-si-do as they tap their elbows to say hello.

Soler, the medical director of Pinnacle Urgent Care Center, has been avoiding shaking hands with patients and friends “It’s the only safe way to greet someone,” Soler says. “Flu and cold germs spread when people touch their hands to their mouths, eyes or nose.“

With swine influenza virus becoming a concern in this country, the touching elbows technique will rapidly replace the handshake as a social greeting and serve as a public health tool," predicts Soler, who wants to start a campaign to spread the new greeting. He believes it could go a long way in keeping Manatee County residents healthy.

"One can even argue that it could save thousands, if not millions of dollars due to illness and lost work," he said.

Soler's advice reinforces recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control as well as state and local health officials.

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