Handshake Giving someone a kiss may in fact be a better idea than shaking hands when it comes to avoiding illness, say US and British researchers.

A group of U.S. and British hygiene experts with the International Scientific Forum for Home Hygiene published the first detailed report on hand hygiene in the home and community, rather than hospital and healthcare settings.

Sally Bloomfield of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and chairwoman of the International Scientific Forum for Home Hygiene, said that a recent study published in the American Journal of Infection Control said to avoid catching flu, stomach aches, methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus, salmonella or C. difficile, people should pay greater attention to good hand hygiene.

Good hygiene at home can mean fewer infections spread among family members and fewer patients demanding antibiotics. But good hygiene is more than just washing hands — surfaces that spread germs via hands such as door handles, tap handles, toilet seats and cleaning cloths also need regular hygienic cleaning.

Clothing and linens, baths, basin and toilet surfaces can also play a part in spreading germs between family members in the home, the report said.