British athletes ordered not to shake hands at London 2012

23rd of March 2012
British athletes ordered not to shake hands at London 2012

Britons may be known for their good manners, but British athletes have been told not to shake hands before and during the London Olympic Games, in order to prevent illness.

The British Olympic Association has suggested its competitors ward off sporting greetings in case they catch a bug that could wreck their Games dreams.

A mild illness that could knock athletes off their stride might be picked up in the "quite stressful environment" of the Games, according to Dr Ian McCurdie, the BOA chief medical officer.

It could hamper an athletes' chances of performing at their best, he said. On whether this meant shaking hands should be off-limits, he said: "I think, within reason, yes.

"I think that is not such a bad thing to advise. The difficulty is when you have got some reception and you have got a line of about 20 people you have never met before who you have got to shake hands with.

"Within reason if you do and have to shake hands with people, so long as you understand that regular hand washing and/or also using hand foam can help reduce the risk - that would be a good point."

Dr McCurdie added:"Essentially we are talking about minimising risk of illness and optimising resistence. Minimising exposure and getting bugs into the system and being more robust to manage those should that happen.

"Hand hygiene is it. It is all about hand hygiene."


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