It’s official: The fist bump is healthier than the handshake.
According to a new study published in the American Journal of Infection Control, a fist bump transmits significantly less bacteria than both a handshake and a high-five. Looks like the Obamas (and just about every baseball player/celebrity/cool kid) are on to something.
To be exact, nearly twice as many bacteria were transferred during a handshake in comparison to the high-five, and significantly fewer bacteria were transferred during a fist bump than a high-five.
In all three greetings, the longer you hold the grip, and the stronger your grasp, the more bacteria you’ll transmit.
“Adoption of the fist bump as a greeting could substantially reduce the transmission of infectious diseases between individuals,” says author David Whitworth, Ph.D., of Aberystwyth University in the United Kingdom. “It is unlikely that a no-contact greeting could supplant the handshake; however, for the sake of improving public health we encourage further adoption of the fist bump as a simple, free, and more hygienic alternative to the handshake.”
Bottom line: If you’re concerned about spreading (or receiving) germs, fist bumps are the way to go. If you’re not the bumping type, opt for a handshake, but make it light, and brief.