Thursday, 9 March 2017

Greet your friends & colleagues with “Namaste” instead of handshake

Greet your friends & colleagues with “Namaste” instead of handshake Greeting people with a handshake is routine accepted practice, especially in formal settings. And, the quality of handshake, firm or limp, may be a potential indicator of the personality type and creating a good first impression. However, on the downside, a handshake can spread bacteria and/or viruses directly between individuals. Respiratory infections such as flu or common cold, diarrhea, skin and eye infections can spread through contaminated hands. Although the cold and flu viruses spread via air-borne droplets by coughing or sneezing, they can also spread by direct contact with contaminated surfaces such as table tops, drawer handles, and door knobs or by shaking hands with someone who has the infection. Flu viruses tend to live longer on surfaces than cold viruses do. The cold and flu viruses live longer on nonporous surfaces such as plastic, metal or wood than they do on porous surfaces like fabrics, skin or paper. Many GI infections such as salmonellosis, shigellosis, hepatitis A, giardiasis, amebiasis can also spread through contaminated hands. These microorganisms can survive on the environmental surfaces for hours to days. In its August 2014 issue, the American Journal of Infection Control published a report stating that nearly twice as many bacteria were transferred during a handshake vs a high five; a fist bump consistently gave the lowest transmission. The high transmission level observed for handshakes was found to also depend on duration and strength and not just the size of contact area. Hand hygiene has been acknowledged as the single most important, simplest and least expensive method to reduce the spread of infections. The ‘My 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene’ approach devised by the WHO has defined the key moments when health-care workers should perform hand hygiene. • Before touching a patient • Before clean/aseptic procedures • After body fluid exposure/risk • After touching a patient • After touching patient surroundings Washing hands with simple soap and water prevents infections and also their spread to others. Maintaining hand hygiene also addresses the problem of antimicrobial resistance. A high five or fist bump represents popular culture and not our traditional culture. Hence, in addition to advocating the principles of hand hygiene, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) will also promote the concept of “Namaste” or “Salaam Aalaikum” instead of shaking hands as a simple and traditional approach to check spread of infections by avoiding unnecessary physical contact among people. Renowned Odissi dancer and Padma Vibhushan Awardee Sonal Mansingh will be the Brand Ambassador of “India Swachh Bharat, Swasth Bharat” project and IMA Kayakalp project of swachh medical establishments. Our concept of Namaste will be called “Sonal Namaste”. Dr KK Aggarwal National President IMA and HCFI

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