Out With The Handshake, In With The Fist Bump


Healthcare worker fist bumps patient: image via medcitynews.comHealthcare worker fist bumps patient: image via medcitynews.comAn expression of courtesy, used particularly when meeting someone for the first time and when saying goodbye, may soon be a thing of the past: the handshake.  Why?  It's too germy. Already there are calls for handshakes to be banned in health care settings and they are substantiated by studies, the most recent one comparing the levels of bacteria communicated by a handshake, a high-five, and a fist bump.  Yes, you read that right....

The study, conducted at Aberystwyth University in Great Britain, is published in the August 2014 issue of The American Journal of Infection Control and was instigated by a call from the Journal of the American Medical Association to ban handshaking in the healthcare setting.  But just to confirm, I suppose, that the fist bump is a more sanitary greeting than the handshake (I know you guessed that it would be.), Professor David Whitworth and his team used by-the-book scientific methods to compare amounts of bacteria that transferred during each form of greeting.

What they found was that the actual amount of bacteria transferred from person to person in a fist bump is one-twentieth the level of bacteria transferred in a hand shake!

This is a sound argument for banning handshakes in hospitals, where healthcare workers can easily spread harmful germs to patients and to each other.  In fact HAIs (healthcare associated infections) are on the rise among patients - now one in 25 patients contracts an HAI while in the hospital and 75,000 people die in the hospital every year from an HAI.

Whether fist bumps become popular forms of greeting in hospitals or other healthcare settings is another matter.  The fist bump comes with an attitude, a posture, an expression, and even a meaning that doesn't translate into handshake... unless the healthcare worker has awfully good news for the patient.


via CBS News.com