Presidential Advice: Shake Off a Cold (cont.)

During the 2000 election season, Bush reportedly suffered from red, swollen knuckles because so many people wanted to shake his hand. But McClellan said that didn't stop him from extending his grip to anyone who wanted a good old-fashioned Texas "Howdy."

Indeed, McClellan told WebMD that in 2000 Bush confided that after "months of campaigning, my hands are now in a pretty good handshaking shape as long as no one tries to vise my grip."

While Kerry's campaign hasn't released any official handshaking figures this year, in the past Bush reportedly shook at least 1,000 to 1,200 hands a day. And if this election is anything like those in years past, experts say that's a lot of chances for either candidate to come down with a heck of a head cold by Nov. 2.

Published Oct. 5, 2004.

SOURCES: Philip M. Tierno Jr., PhD, director clinical microbiology and immunology; associate professor, departments of microbiology and pathology, New York University Medical Center. Mark Pruzansky, MD, clinical professor of orthopedics, Mt. Sinai Medical Center, New York. CDC. WebMD Medical News: "Pressing The Flesh Can Take It's Toll on Politicians."

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