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    • #20267

      You read that title correctly: doesn’t it feel weird to intentionally avoid shaking hands with someone when the situation warrants it? When I meet someone new, my natural instinct is to shake their hand as I’ve always been taught this is both polite and respectful. However, following my diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and my fear of getting sick, I now try and avoid this action whenever possible.

      That said, it is still a little weird when others extend their hand to greet me and I respond with a “fist pump”. That is what I’ve started doing in an effort to keep others’ germs away and avoid another acute exacerbation as a result of catching a respiratory virus. Sometimes, if I have the emotional and physical energy, I’ll explain why I avoid shaking-hands with people and tell them about my lung disease. Other times, I might shake their hand but use hand-sanitizer immediately after. I never want someone to assume that I’m declining to shake their hand because it’s something about them. On the contrary, I need to be as proactive as possible in staying healthy and it is common knowledge that one of the fastest ways to spread germs is through shaking hands with others.

      Have you ever run into this scenario? 

      What do you do when you don’t want to shake hands, and it is expected or a hand is extended in a social situation that warrants it (ie. introductions)? 


      I’d love to hear from you, especially ahead of cold and flu season which begins in the fall.

    • #20298
      john styles

      Hi Charlene, I carry  small bottle of sanitizer in my pocket and have a larger bottle in the car, my wife has one that will attach to her purse, I use it not only with hand shaking but if I touch anything, door handels, charge pad screens, grocery carts, etc.  I also take “Allacin” its the ingredient in garlic that has antibiotic properties. Seems to work for me, I have not been sick for a year and a half.  I also turn and go the other way when someone is sneezing or coughing. When available I use soap and water.  When I flew this year I used wipes to wipe everything off, the trays, air vents, etc.  So if anyone wants to shake hands I shake them but discreetly use my sanitizer as soon as I can and I do not touch my face untill my hands are washed or I have used the hand sanitizer.

    • #20299
      john styles

      I forgot to add that I take Dapsone, originally it was used and still is to treat leprosy, but it has anti biotic properties.  Seems to work.

    • #20307

      Hi John,

      So nice to hear from you – thanks for your reply regarding this topic! I was hopeful that others could relate, and that I just wasn’t obsessively aware or cautious of germs. The very act of avoiding hand shakes feels strange, but I really don’t want to relive the experience of an exacerbation! If I have to shake hands, I’m like you and will discreetly use hand sanitizer as soon as I can and not touch my face. Thanks for sharing the supplements you take too! I’ll take a look into the “Allacin”, I’ve heard how beneficial that can be actually. Thanks for sharing 🙂

      Talk to you soon,

    • #20317
      Zach Adman

      I also try to avoid shaking hands. What I do, when I don’t want to go into a whole explanation is say I have a bit of a cold as I offer a fist bump. Most people then thank me for showing concern for their health.

    • #20348

      That is a great idea Zach, thanks for sharing! When the situation is flipped as though you’re protecting the person from getting sick, I can imagine the response is more appreciation. Great idea!

    • #21966
      Rose Sottilo

      Hello, I am very concerned about  wheregerms. I wear a little paper mask if I have to go to a crowded enviorment, like a waiting room. I keep one in my purse. I do shake hands, but pull out my little sanitizer bottle after to clean up and offer it to the other person and tell them that I’m germafobic and that is usually enough explanation,  I wear a canula 24/7. We must protect ourselves from illness.

      Smooches y’all, Rose

    • #21977

      Hi Rose,

      Thanks for writing and sharing your thoughts on this very important topic! I am also very concerned with germs, and wear my Vogmask around known germ-filled spaces (ie. grocery stores, malls, airports, etc) and keep hand-sanitzer everywhere. Sometimes I fear it is going overboard but then I don’t want to suffer the consequences of not being proactive when it comes to reducing exposure risk. I hope you continue doing this for yourself, it is important I agree  🙂


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