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While it has been known for quite some time now that hand contact spreads germs, a recent study conducted by British researchers has found evidence that the more recently emerging fist-bump is a more sanitary greeting that spreads a lot less germs than the traditional handshake greeting.
The study, which was published in the August issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, found that locking hands with another person for the traditional handshake spread twice as many germs as giving someone a high-five and 10 times more germs than a fist-bump. Therefore, using the fist-bump greeting instead of shaking hands or giving high-fives would significantly help reduce cross-contamination and help prevent the spread of germs and infections. Researchers believe that fist-bumps (and high-fives) are less germy than handshakes because there is less hand-to-hand contact and they are usually quicker than handshakes.
Germs are hiding everywhere and are on many of the objects that we touch as we go about our day-to-day activities. Just opening a door you’re exposed to a wide array of bacteria and viruses, ranging from the common cold virus to MRSA. Just a few other likely contaminated objects touched throughout the day include light switches, refrigerator door handles, railings, the pen used to sign receipts at restaurants and stores, menus, the copy/fax machine at work…and the list could go on and on. The point is, it’s a dirty world we live in that is full of germs. Making a little effort to help decrease the spread of germs can go a long ways towards helping improve public health. As such, author David Whitworth, a researcher with the Institute of Biological, Environmental, and Rural Sciences at AberystwythUniversity in the United Kingdom, is urging the “further adoption of the fist bump as a simple, free and more hygienic alternative to the handshake.”
Another effective way to further decrease the spread of germs is adopting proper handwashing / sanitizing techniques. Handwashing and sanitizing is an easy and effective habit to develop. Knowing how easily germs, bacteria, and viruses are spread through hand contact there really shouldn’t be any excuses for not having clean hands, especially with so many different instant hand sanitizers available on the market that don’t doesn’t require the use of soap and water.