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This Flu Season, Try The “Evanston Elbow”

Skip the handshake and stop the spread of germs.

A recent study by Stanford University biology professor, Dr. Nathan Wolfe (not to be confused with my eight-year-old son, Nathan Wolf) suggests cutting out the practice of shaking hands to ward off the spread of germs. Wolfe recommends bumping elbows.

I’m intrigued.

Think about it. Chicago has its own style of hot dog. Venezuela has the Macarena. Philadelphia has the Watusi. If Evanston wants to make its mark internationally, we should start the Evanston Elbow.

Sound far fetched? Not so fast. Savvy Patch readers surely recall how for Contagion, his movie about an airborne virus that spreads into a worldwide pandemic. The Evanston Elbow seems like a natural “outbreak”, as it were, from the movie.

Of course, the handshake’s a hard habit to break. Handshakes go way back; some historians believe they originally demonstrated a weapon-free exchange between two individuals.

And yet, how many times have you coughed into your hand, touched your eye or wiped a crumb from your lips? Don’t be embarrassed. It happens. Our hands are extremely germy extremities. The keyboards and devices you’re all using to read this article are riddled with germs originated from your hands.

Still, not everyone finds viruses troubling. Virologists make a living studying the origins and paths of viruses. Others, like the singer Björk, see viruses as objects of beauty and art (which may finally explain the swan).

All I’m saying is, Evanston’s a town on the cusp of something big here; I say, “Let’s get anti-viral with the Evanston Elbow.

John Brinkmann October 12, 2011 at 09:48 AM
Interesting Christine, but the immune system protects the body from disease by learning to adapt and attack anything foreign to it---we can run but we cant hide a bottle of Purel or elbows---:D The importance of the handshake is an integral part of virtually every culture in the world http://soc302.tripod.com/soc_302rocks/id8.html

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