Have you ever wondered why President Obama is always spotted fist bumping people he meets? Of course, it might just be because he’s a pretty cool guy, but what if he knew something that we didn’t? A study posted on EurekAlert has postulated that fist bumps are better than handshakes because they “transmit significantly fewer bacteria than either handshaking or high-fiving” and still fulfill the base requirements for social etiquette.
While this seems relatively trivial for most of us, unless you’re somewhat of a germaphobe, this makes a huge impact in the medical industry, particularly hospitals, where nasty viruses can be transmitted from medical professionals to multiple patients in otherwise innocent handshakes. The study follows on from a suggestion by the Journal of the American Medical Association which called for the cessation of handshakes in hospitals. Still don’t believe it? The study details the exact process its findings were collated:
In this experiment, 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 high-five with a sterile-gloved recipient. Exchanges randomly varied in duration and intensity of contact.
After the exchange, the receiving gloves were immersed in a solution to count the number of bacteria transferred during contact. Nearly twice as many bacteria were transferred during a handshake compared to the high-five, and significantly fewer bacteria were transferred during a fist bump than a high-five. In all three forms of greeting, a longer duration of contact and stronger grips were further associated with increased bacterial transmission.
What do you think about the findings of this study? Are you going to start fist bumping more from now on? Let us know your thoughts.