Shaking hands has been the traditional method of greeting another person or to end a meeting here in the United States. However, sometimes you may have wanted to go and quickly wash your hands right after some of those handshakes.
Now a study from Aberystwyth University in the UK shows that fist bumps are a far superior method of greeting another person by reducing the risk of passing germs.
The study, published in the American Journal of Infection Control, showed that fist bumps, pressing the top of two fists together, transfer 90 percent less bacteria than a handshake, reported Reuters.
Five pairs of people participated in this small study. One person wore a rubber glove that had been coated with non-pathogenic E. coli bacteria. After coating the glove, the person shook, bumped or high-fived the other participant who wore a fresh clean glove for every contact greeting.
Each clean glove was then tested for the amount of bacteria that had transferred.
The handshake transferred nearly 10 times more bacteria than a fist bump and the stronger the handshake, the more the bacteria that was passed.
The high fives, on average, passed along twice as much bacteria as the fist bump.
Dave Whitworth, a biologist who co-authored the study said, "People rarely think about the health implications of shaking hands," a news release reported.
"If the general public could be encouraged to fist bump, there is genuine potential to reduce the spread of infectious diseases," he said.
Some people may need more encouragement or at least an offer of explanation that fist bumping, instead of handshaking, does not mean the person is being less acknowledged.
Dr. Saman Lashkari, an internal medicine physician in California, wrote on his practice’s Facebook page that last year he had been seeing a physical therapist for an ankle injury who would always fist bump him rather than shake his outstretched hand at the end of each session.
At first, Dr. Lashkari thought,"Wow, not good enough for him to shake my hand?"