A fist bump instead of a handshake could keep you from getting sick by preventing the spreading of germs, according to a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control.
According to the study conducted by the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences at Aberystyth University, knuckle-knocking instead of an old-fashioned handshake transmits only one-twentieth the amount of bacteria.
The research is not necessarily groundbreaking, as proper hand hygiene is widely understood as important in preventing the spread of illness. However, the researchers noticed that much research existed in regard to bacteria spreading via doorknobs and other surfaces, but little on handshakes.
To carry out the study, two people shook hands, fist-bumped, and high-fived each other dozens of times, with one person wearing a glove covered in de-fanged Escherichia coli bacteria and the other one with a clean sterilized glove. They would then measure the amount of bacteria transferred from each contact method.
The handshakes transferred 124 million colony-forming units of the E. coli bacteria.
The study concludes that, “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.”
The fist bump may be catching on as more and more health care facilities have begun to post notices to ask people to reconsider using the traditional handshake in the premises. Notable people such as the Dali Lama, President Barak Obama, and Howie Mandel are well-known for using the gesture.