字幕表 動画を再生する 英語字幕をプリント Put it there! Ah, wait. Have you washed your hands? Umm, I may have some hand sanitizer. We've been shaking hands since as early as 1800 BCE, when we thought we could absorb the gods' power. Well, we're absorbing something alright. Research has shown that we have over 3,000 bacteria on our hands, including fecal matter, from 150 different species. Gross. To make matters worse, the average person shakes hands 15,000 times in their lifetime. So, what if we stopped shaking hands altogether? It's believed that shaking hands started as a gesture to show you meant no harm to others. This was done by reaching out the right hand where your weapon would normally be, and showing that it was empty. The classic hand movement of up and down could have been a way to show there were no knives or daggers hidden on the arm. See? Nothing up my sleeve. Since then, it's become a gesture of good faith and commitment, often used when closing a deal. And that's just scratching the surface of why we shake hands. Cultures around the world have different variations of who shakes hands and how, but all involve getting touchy-feely, which isn't doing much good for our health. When we shake hands, and our hands have large amounts of bacteria or viruses on them, we spread the bacteria or viruses to the people we shake hands with. This increases the chances of people getting sick. But let's say you just washed your hands. Great! But it doesn't mean much if the other person didn't. So the bacteria-train keeps on chugging. The transmission of common colds and the flu have both been linked to handshakes. And the longer the handshake, the higher the odds of catching something. Most doctors agree that cutting out handshakes would hugely benefit our health. But is it that easy? We're not just taking away a gesture. We're taking away a concept that's been ingrained in our cultures for centuries. So, we need to find a replacement. What if we lived in a world where, after you secured a multi-billion dollar deal, everyone in the meeting high-fived? Well, good news. High fives transmit half as much bacteria as a standard handshake. And if you want to really seal the deal, fist bumps transmit even fewer bacteria. What if our greetings didn't involve touching at all? Hmmm, That wouldn't work for me. I'm a hugger! What if, in the future, we just tipped our hats? No, we'd need to bring top hats back into fashion for that. What about saluting? Or the peace sign that was all the rage in the 60s, man? We could bow, wave, or do the namaste ritual. If it were up to us, we'd be using the Vulcan “live long and prosper” gesture. "That hurts worse than the uniform." So could we do it? Sure we could. Researchers at Carleton University in Ottawa say that we're living in a time of heightened disease awareness called a "pandemic culture". It's changing the way we behave in public, interact with each other, and it's making us aware that everything we touch is covered in microbes. So, how would we get people to stop shaking hands? Well, consider this. Smoking used to be a cultural norm, but as research showed its health risks, and public education campaigns educated us about the dangers of smoking, the norm changed. Not smoking is now the cultural norm. What if we used this model to change people's tendency to shake hands into some other form of greeting? Mass media and the internet would make it easy to spread information about the danger of shaking hands. This would encourage people to adopt other practices. Agencies such as the United Nations, the World Health Organization, and the Centers for Disease Control could agree on practices to replace handshakes that would transmit less bacteria and viruses between people. And if we really wanted to guarantee that people would change their greetings, legislation could discourage or downright prohibit the use of handshakes. We know that we need a way to connect with each other. The physical contact of shaking hands is a tried and true method used in both formal and informal situations. But there are other ways we can connect, assess each other, and indicate genuine intentions. If we stopped shaking hands, it would be safer for everyone. But why stop at handshakes? There are plenty of other ways that germs spread. What if we went to the extreme, and held in every single one of our sneezes? Well, that's a story for another WHAT IF.