With the recent outbreak of Swine flu, it seems like we’ve retreated back to basic etiquette and cleanliness.

Feature photo by Ben Fredericson. Photo above by Mussels

Squirting on inordinate amounts of antibacterial sanitizer. Doubling up on face masks. Incessantly washing hands. Covering mouths with both hands to protect a sneeze.

Daily rituals such as handshakes and simple hugs are being limited as an extra level of precaution, and swine flu is already leaving a huge dent on international travel as Julie Schwietert describes.

This got me thinking.

How would locals that greet each other with a cultural kiss adapt? What other norms would be affected by this latest health scare?

Ironically, we’ve been talking a lot about common etiquette this week. From taking your shoes off while visiting homes to keeping your cheesy grins at bay, Chris Tharp introduces us to 10 Korean Customs To Know Before You Visit Korea.

Along the same lines, Turner Wright rounds up ten Japanese customs you need to know – from table manners and wearing masks, to taking baths and using chopsticks correctly.

Rachel Turner describes 5 Common American Gestures That Might Insult The Locals, and in his classic post, Put Some Damn Clothes On!, Tim Patterson implores us to show a little respect when dressing abroad.

Want to know what other cultures consider common etiquette? Check out some of the essential reads below.