Goodbye ‘Handshakes’ : Hello Healthcare ‘Fist-Bumps’


Contrary to modern thought, God started the ‘fist-bump’ a long time ago

“Fist-bumps, high-fives are more hygienic than handshakes”

A study in the American Journal of Infection Control proffers the suggestion that the fashionable “fist-bumps” are a more hygienic greeting than handshakes in the Twilight Zone of healthcare.

They’re even better than “high-fives.”

Mr. Dave Whitworth, PhD, of Aberystwyth University in the United Kingdom, along with his student Ms. Sara Mela, apparently tested the infection potential of 3 greeting methods: handshakes, high-fives and fist-bumps. They did this by using  surgical gloves dipped in a bacterial broth. Yummy. They  found the highest cootie transfer happens during the prolonged contact of a handshake. The germ volume dropped by 50% for a high-five and by a whopping 90% for a fist-bump.

The researchers discovered that bacterial transfers increased with firm grip pressure.

In other words, even if we all start looking like weenies, we’d be a whole site healthier a society by giving – and receiving – wimpy handshakes.

“People rarely think about the health implications of shaking hands,” Whitworth said in a statement from the university. “If the general public could be encouraged to fist-bump, there is genuine potential to reduce the spread of infectious diseases.”

The research echoes a similar 2013 study that found bacterial transfer was four times higher among healthcare workers who shook hands than among those who used fist-bumps. Like Whitworth and Mela, the researchers attributed the increased risk to greater exposed surface area and longer contact time, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

However, some healthcare professionals argue that switching over from handshakes isn’t worth the potential cost to interpersonal interactions, especially since many of the risks associated with handshakes could be reduced with proper hand-washing protocol.

You heard it here and now you know. So time to knuckle down. Give those folks a hand. Be hip when you meet & greet. Mano a mano, amigos.

Kick those cooties to the curb.



One thought on “Goodbye ‘Handshakes’ : Hello Healthcare ‘Fist-Bumps’

  1. Totally makes sense. I have a weak immune system and no spleen. I actually get nervous just sitting in the waiting room. I wore a mask several times at a USCD Hillcrest when taking a friend to ER. The doctor asked me if I was sick and I said “No, I just don’t want to be.” He said: “Good idea!” And then he went and put a mask on too. 🙂

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