Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Lifestyles
Classified Sites

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Rock beats paper: Study says fist bumps spread fewer bacteria than handshakes or high-fives

In this undated photo provided by Prifysgol Aberystwyth University researchers David Whitworth, left, and Sara Mela, pose for photo in the lab at Prifysgol Aberystwyth University in Aberystwyth, Wales. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Prifysgol Aberystwyth University

Enlarge Image

In this undated photo provided by Prifysgol Aberystwyth University researchers David Whitworth, left, and Sara Mela, pose for photo in the lab at Prifysgol Aberystwyth University in Aberystwyth, Wales. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Prifysgol Aberystwyth University

NEW YORK, N.Y. - When it comes to preventing the spread of germs, maybe the president is on to something with his fondness for fist bumps.

The familiar knocking of knuckles spreads only one-twentieth the amount of bacteria that a handshake does, researchers report. That's better than a high-five, which still passes along less than half the amount as a handshake.

So fist bumps — popularized by Barack Obama and others — seem to be the wisest greeting, especially during cold and flu season, said researcher David Whitworth of Aberystwyth University in Wales.

The importance of hand hygiene is nothing new in medicine. But the researchers realized that while a lot of research focused on hands getting germy from touching doorknobs and other surfaces, only a few studies had looked at handshakes.

"And there are alternatives to handshakes. You see them on telly all the time — the fist bump and high-five and all that," Whitworth said.

He and a student, Sara Mela, shook hands, fist-bumped and high-fived each other dozens of times for the research. One wore a glove covered in bacteria, while the other had a clean sterilized glove. After each greeting, they measured how much bacteria had been transferred.

Their results were published online Monday in the American Journal of Infection Control.

What makes the fist bump more sanitary? Mostly, it's the smaller amount of surface area in contact between the two hands, an analysis suggests. The researchers did practice runs with paint to measure how much surface area each form of greeting involved.

"It's a novel study," though the results are not surprising, said Mary Lou Manning, president-elect of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. Her organization publishes the journal.

She said she hasn't seen much fist-bumping or high-fiving in hospitals. Handshakes are more common— but they must be followed by good hand-washing, she added.

Whitworth said he hopes the norm changes. "In a hospital, you really don't want people to shake hands. It's an unnecessary risk," he said.

___

Online:

Journal: http://www.ajicjournal.org

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on brandonsun.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

Comment
  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun Business Directory
The First World War at 100
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media