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A germ-free way to say 'Hi'

As a gesture that commonly accompanies friendly greetings, the handshake is an ingrained habit for most Americans. But along with good will, handshakes have the potential for spreading germs – even among those in health care, who wash their hands multiple times per day.

That‘s why Elvira Szigeti PhD, RN, dean of Upstate‘s College of Nursing, has turned to elbows. Meet her, and she‘ll rub her elbow against yours.

Public health officials have urged people to cough or sneeze into the crook of their elbows instead of their hands. Szigeti took that one step further when she gave up handshakes two years ago. She did not want to give up human contact, however, so she developed the elbow tap.

“I just think it‘s a safer way to do it,” she explains. “My big thing is, you don‘t touch other people, and you don‘t spread germs. I just realized, you never touch your elbows.”

Sure, the elbow tap generates chuckles, but Szigeti doesn‘t mind. She credits the move with keeping her healthy.