While the debate on ‘handshakes vs. fist bumps’ is still an ongoing discussion in both politics and the social sphere, the latter may be the healthier and more hygienic option, a new study shows.
Both a fist bump and a high-five transmit less bacteria than a handshake, according to a study by David Whitworth, a senior lecturer in biochemistry at Aberystwyth University-Ceredigion in the UK, published in the American Journal of Infection Control.
It was found that handshakes transfer almost 10 times more bacteria than fist bumps and two times more than the high fives. The researchers experimented by dipping a gloved hand into a strain of E. coli bacteria, leaving it to dry and then using the tainted glove in various methods of contact including handshake, fist bump and high-five with a clean gloved hand to assess the transfer of bacteria.
Tests showed that more surface area of the hands touch during handshakes and that the contact tend to last for a longer period of time which could contribute to this method of interaction being the least hygienic.