You may want to avoid shaking hands during flu season

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – To stay healthier during the cold and flu season, some are suggesting we stop shaking hands.

Hands can carry bacteria and viruses. While some are harmless, E.coli or the flu virus can send a person to the sickbed for days.RELATED: Click here for a link to CDC resources on the flu in the workplace

CBS North Carolina spoke with several people in downtown Raleigh to see if they are concerned about getting sick after handshaking.

“I never thought about it. It never crossed my mind,” said Frank Daniels.

During cold and flu season, sick days add up given the tremendous number of people in the American workforce.

According to the Centers For Disease Control, 111 million workdays will be lost, costing nearly $7 billion in lost productivity between October and May.

Hands can host more than germs. A recent study in London found 1 in 3 persons tested positive for fecal bacteria on their hands.

Some hospitals have already established handshake-free zones in nurseries and other critical care areas.

“I think a hug would be good,” said Laura Marion.

A hug, fist bump, and even quick high-five have been proven to spread less germs than a handshake.RELATED: Click here for a link to a guide for employees on how to avoid flu at work

Joshua Woodall said an alternative to handshakes during flu season “would be very beneficial.”

“Most people don’t realize how much they touch their face or the mouth with their hands during the course of the day,” he added.

Medical professionals say germs and viruses tend to enter through the eyes, mouth and mucus membranes after people touch them with their hands.

So, declining to shake hands during flu season may not be a rude thing.

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