DEAR ABBY: I have worked in the construction trade for many years. It's common practice to shake someone's hand when you are introduced, or when you see that person again. Now, after years of working in the field, I'm working in the office, taking care of business for the men.
Abby, when they come into the office or I see them gathered outside, they insist on shaking hands. The problem I have with this is I catch more colds than I have ever had in my life. Also, some of these guys have some of today's diseases such as herpes, AIDS, hepatitis C, and some other things I have never heard of. I wash my hands many times a day. I use sanitary wipes many times a day. You get the picture.
Is there some polite way of excusing oneself from shaking hands without offending the other person? Any suggestions will be appreciated to help me with this problem. -- CONCERNED IN THE WEST
DEAR CONCERNED: Rather than risk offending clients or co-workers, you should discuss this subject with your doctor. The common cold can be prevented by not touching your eyes, nose or mouth after contact with someone -- or some object -- that has been contaminated by someone with a cold. (The other diseases you mentioned are spread through intimate contact, and this does NOT include hand-shaking.)