French urged to skip the kiss amid swine flu fears - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

French urged to skip the kiss amid swine flu fears

PARIS (AP) -- Could swine flu be the kiss of death for a traditional French greeting?

Worries about the pandemic have French health officials suggesting that people skip the traditional cheek-to-cheek peck that the French have always used to say hello or goodbye.

At least two French schools have banned the practice, and some companies and a Health Ministry hotline are cautioning against it.

A hotline operator says it's a recommendation, not a requirement.

Some are resisting what they see as a threat to a cherished custom. A headline in a French paper says: "Swine flu has already changed our life."

Teachers in one town have come up with a playful alternative. They've set up boxes where pupils can drop heart-shaped greetings to be exchanged in class.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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