High Five or a Fist Bump is More Hygienic than a Handshake, Says Study
Through a series of tests, researchers at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences at Aberystwyth University in Wales documented that fist bumps are 20 times more hygienic than handshakes.
Participants dipped their hands, covered with sterilized gloves, into a soup of de-fanged Escherichia coli bacteria. They later exchanged high fives, fist bumps and handshakes.
The results reveal that handshakes transferred an average of 124 million colony-forming units of E. coli. It's almost twice as high as high-fives.
Fist bumps are 10 times cleaner than high-fives, according to results published online Monday in the American Journal of Infection Control.
Handshakes offer large contact area (22.2 square inches, on average) allowing the bacteria to move from one hand to another. Another factor that follows is the duration of the greeting each other with handshakes. They lasted 3 seconds longer than high-fives or fist bumps.
However, stretching out a high five for 3 seconds won't spread E. coli which, one the other hand, is the case with fist bumps.
The researchers have not carried out any particular experiments with any pathogens which claim to be quiet dangerous. However, they believe that the similar results will follow if they test flu virus or "other pathogenic microorganisms".
In the real world, where people aren't walking around in sterile gloves, the fist bump and high-fives might fare better or worse than a handshake because "different parts of a hand would have differing amounts of bacterial fauna," Mela and Whitworth said.
They believe that doctor's transformation from handshakes to fist bumps is not going to be easy as the comfort still lies in shaking hands. However, as far as the safely is concerned they must adapt their use with each other.
Messages outside hospital, clinics and other healthcare facilities should be posted to ensure hygiene.
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