Dame Joan Collins will only fist bump with people when she greets them - because she doesn't want to catch their ''germs''.

The 84-year-old actress refuses to shake hands and hug her friends and co-stars anymore after she was struck down with influenza in December, and she cannot bear it when people try to plant a ''sloppy kiss'' on her cheek.

She said: ''I try to avoid shaking hands - instead offering my jaunty closed fist for a gentle bump, which is usually met by a puzzled expression unless the recipient is approaching puberty - much less this ghastly fad of kissing and hugging strangers.

''The bane of my life is the bear hug followed by a sloppy kiss on the cheek from total strangers.

''As I was born and brought up at a time where you didn't kiss or hug anyone except your family, and it was the norm to seldom receive much affection from your parents past the age of ten, this is a fad I can't adjust to.''

The former 'Dynasty' star felt as though she might be dying when she was struck down with the flu virus on a plane to Dubai late last year, which left her bed-bound for two weeks.

She said: ''I took to my bed like a Victorian lady with a case of the swoons - legs shaky as spaghetti, ribs aching from a hacking cough. Bed-bound for a fortnight, I almost felt that the end was near. (I'm an actress - you have to expect some drama.)''

After being struck down with the infectious disease while she was in the air, Joan went to extreme lengths to protect herself from germs while on a recent flight, on which she put duct tape over her air vent and ''swabbed'' her seat with disinfectant wipes.

In a piece for the Daily Mail newspaper, she wrote: ''I have upped my one-woman war against germs. A few weeks after my illness, on a flight from London to LA, I was adamant on blocking the airvent above me with duct tape and swabbing my seat and media screen vigorously with disinfectant wipes. I had armed myself with enough hand sanitiser, nose-blocking gel and baby wipes to stock a corner chemist.

''I was protecting myself from the zillions of invisible germs that lurk inside aeroplanes, as they do on every surface from door handles to lift buttons and supermarket trolleys. Indeed, while I've long worn gloves as a fashionable accessory, now I wear them whenever possible to protect myself against virulent germs.''