Skip The Handshake And Fist Bump Instead To Keep From Getting Sick

Skip The Handshake And Fist Bump Instead To Keep From Getting Sick

Handshakes are the professional world’s primary language of establishing solidarity, but they’re also one of the primary mediums for germs to spread from person to person. Try skipping the handshake and opt for a fist bump, explaining that you don’t want to get the other person sick.

Image by Joe The Goat Farmer

OK, so maybe fist bumps aren’t exactly the most professional way to greet an important client or close business deals, but according to researchers from Aberystwyth University in Wales, adopting the fist bump instead of a handshake — especially at events like conventions or large gatherings — can help substantially minimise the spread of germs.

This was after they had measured the transference of E. Coli bacteria with other greeting gestures, including the handshake and high-fives. The results showed that handshakes transferred ten times the bacteria compared with a fist bump. Interestingly, the researchers also noted:

The high transmission level observed for handshakes does not appear to be purely a function of its large contact area, but also depends on duration and strength. Transmission is greater with increased duration and grip, which presumably increases the intimacy of association between hands.

Hey, now you don’t have to worry about all the fine details of the perfect handshake, or whether the person you’re meeting actually washed his hands after using the bathroom. And if the other person is sceptical, just show them this article. Bump it, bro.

The fist bump: A more hygienic alternative to the handshake [American Journal of Infection Control]

Stephanie Lee is a geeky health and fitness freelance writer. You can follow her shenanigans on Twitter or on her YouTube channel


  • Or if this is a big thing to you, carry a small bottle of antibacterial lotion in your pocket and dry wash your hands before doing the rounds of handshakes with the Plagueborne.
    Just do it somewhere discreetly so you don’t come off looking like Monk.

    Unless you’re at a surfing or wrestling convention, fist bumping makes you look like a tool, though less than refusing to shake someones hand.

  • This will just backfire in the end as you will build up zero immunity to common bugs and they will make you sicker in the end.

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