Researching whether fist-bumps indeed would transmit less bacteria than a handshake, I found that, apparently, shaking hands with your doctor is a thing in the US, and, apparently, is expected by both the doctors and the patients; as well as shaking hands in general between the staff at the hospitals.



Ignoring what you'd think is an instance of an obvious ignorance of the germ theory of disease, is this at all expected within the health facilities of universal healthcare countries, too, or is this practice rather limited outside of the US?

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    Germaphobia is probably more harmful to people's healing than is a friendly hand shake or a hug. – user13044 Jan 24 '16 at 7:28
  • Some countries don't have handshaking between opposite sexes. Choose an opposite sex doctor there, and problem solved. – Andrew Grimm Jan 24 '16 at 8:02
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    I can only tell for the Netherlands but here the doctors do shake hands with all patients. Often I would prefer not to shake hands as they have a funny way of keeping the muscles slack so it is like shacking a glove full of water. – Willeke Jan 24 '16 at 10:54
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's about medical culture, not travel. – Mark Mayo Jan 24 '16 at 11:39
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    The FDA has published information about two years ago that they have realized that germs are mostly transferred through aerosol (coughing and sneezing) and not touching. They have revoked the suggestions to wash your hands with soap often and to avoid handshakes, as it wouldn't do any good (it doesn't hurt either, though). For some reason, the general public is ignoring this update. – Aganju Jan 24 '16 at 15:16

In western Europe, the practice of shaking hands is common, with anyone you meet, including your doctor. Recent research shows that there is very low risk to that; if you seriously want to avoid getting infection, you should adopt the East-Asian pratice of wearing face masks in public.

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