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Banning the Handshake From the Health Care Setting

Mark Sklansky, MD1; Nikhil Nadkarni, BS2; Lynn Ramirez-Avila, MD, MSC3,4
[+] Author Affiliations
1Division of Pediatric Cardiology, Department of Pediatrics, Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California
2David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California
3Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Pediatrics, Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California
4Clinical Epidemiology and Infection Control, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, California
JAMA. 2014;311(24):2477-2478. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.4675.
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The handshake represents a deeply established social custom. In recent years, however, there has been increasing recognition of the importance of hands as vectors for infection, leading to formal recommendations and policies regarding hand hygiene in hospitals and other health care facilities.1 Such programs have been limited by variable compliance and efficacy.1,2 In an attempt to avoid contracting or spreading infection, many individuals have made their own efforts to avoid shaking hands in various settings but, in doing so, may face social, political, and even financial risks.

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