Christmas partygoers have been handed out tips by etiquette authority Debrett's on how to kiss under the mistletoe while avoiding swine flu.
The specialist publisher urged people to avoid a full festive kiss on the lips under the mistletoe and opt for polite social kissing, a brief peck on the cheek.
AdvertisementJo Bryant, Debrett's etiquette adviser, recommended people not to 'leave a saliva trace', allow a hand to wander, make air kissing or any 'mwah' sounds.
"Because of the spread of swine flu this year, people have started to think they might not jump under the mistletoe quite as readily this season," the Telegraph quoted Bryant as saying.
"But it's medically proven that a peck on the cheek is much more hygienic than a handshake.
"People carry billions more germs on their hands so 'cheek-to-cheek' kissing is a healthier greeting by far," she added.
Auctioneer Nick Champion, who leads the annual Tenbury Wells mistletoe auctions, however, expressed his doubts over such handling of mistletoe encounters.
He said: "The last thing we need is people worrying about kissing at Christmas and we're really hoping that people aren't going to be put off buying mistletoe because of some health scare."