“Fist bumping” transmits significantly fewer bacteria than either handshaking or “high-fiving,” according to a new study.
“Adoption of the fist bump as a greeting could substantially reduce the transmission of infectious diseases,” said David Whitworth of at Aberystwyth University in the U.K., co-author of a report on the findings. “For the sake of improving public health we encourage further adoption of the fist bump as a simple, free, and more hygienic alternative to the handshake.”
Whitworth and colleagues performed experiments involving the fistbump, a gesture that goes back decades but has been given a popularity boost by the likes of President Obama. In the experiments, a greeter immersed a sterile gloved hand into a container of germs. Once the glove was dry, the greeter exchanged a handshake, fist bump, or highfive with a sterilegloved recipient.
After the exchange, the receiving gloves were immersed in a solution to count the number of bacteria transferred. Nearly twice as many bacteria were transferred during a handshake compared to the highfive, and significantly fewer bacteria were transferred during a fist bump than a high-five, the researchers said. In all three forms of greeting, a longer duration of contact and stronger grips were further associated with increased bacterial transmission.
The study is published in the August issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.
The study also expands on a recent call from the Journal of the American Medical Association to ban hand-shakes hospital environments.
Doctors argued that health-care providers’ hands can spread potentially harmful germs to patients, leading to healthcare associated infections, among the leading causes of preventable harm and death in the United States. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in 25 hospitalized patients develops such an infection, and 75,000 patients with them die during their hospitalization each year.
Whitworth and colleagues argue that it’s unlikely that all greeting associated contact will be eliminated entirely, as it’s a strong “cultural expectation.” So they suggest the fistbump as an alternative that might gain traction.
Source : http://www.world-science.net