News

Fist bumps relay 90 percent less germs than handshakes

Fist bumps relay 90 percent less germs than handshakes

President Barack Obama fist bumps the cashier after paying for his order at Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas on July 10, 2014. Photo: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Ditching handshakes in favor of more informal fist bumps could help cut down on the spread of bacteria and illnesses, according to a study released on Monday.

The study in the American Journal of Infection Control found that fist bumps, where two people briefly press the top of their closed fists together, transferred about 90 percent less bacteria than handshakes.

“People rarely think about the health implications of shaking hands,” Dave Whitworth, a biologist at Aberystwyth University in the United Kingdom who co-authored the study, said in a statement.

“If the general public could be encouraged to fist bump, there is genuine potential to reduce the spread of infectious diseases,” he said.

The fist bump appears to enjoy the support of both U.S. President Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama, both of whom have been seen enthusiastically using the greeting, the study notes.

The study used participants who wore gloves that had been thoroughly coated in a film of non-pathogenic E. coli bacteria. They then variously shook hands, high-fived and fist-bumped fellow participants in sterile gloves and the amount of transferred bacteria was examined.

High-five slaps transferred about half the amount of bacteria as shaking hands.

Handshakes relay more germs because they result in a larger area of contact between hands, but the strength and length of handshakes also play a role, the study found.

“Transmission is greater with increased duration and grip,” it said.

The research was prompted by an apparent increase in workplace cleanliness measures, including the growing use of hand sanitizers and keyboard disinfectants, the university said in a statement.

(Reporting by Laila Kearney; Editing by Eric Beech)

Recent Headlines

in National, World

Obama vows not to fight another ground war in Iraq

islamicstate

Support for ISIS increased after U.S. airstrikes began in Iraq and the militant group may take more hostages, senior officials say.

in National

N.Y. man charged with trying to help Islamic State

ISIS

A 30-year-old man has been charged with trying to provide material support to the militant group and attempting to murder U.S. soldiers.

in National, World

Islamic State campaign test Obama’s commitment to allies

obama

While Americans support the campaign of airstrikes against militants, they have a low appetite for a long campaign against the group.

in Trending, Viral Videos

TODAY’S MUST SEE: Barbra Streisand’s ‘celebrity’ duets

19-overlay1

The star appears on late-night TV for the first time in 50 years and is joined by some big names to perform a series of duets.

in National

Children’s respiratory illness spreads to more states

cdc

A serious illness sickening U.S. children has spread to 12 states and it's predicted that more states will report cases in coming weeks.