Fist Bumps Reduce Bacteria Transmitted by 90% Compared to Shaking Hands

Written by Lloyd Alter

Remember back in 2008 when Barack and Michelle did what Fox News called a “terrorist fist jab”? It turns out they were on to something. According to BBC News, Scientists at Aberystwyth University in Wales studied the transfer of germs during various forms of greetings, and found that the fist bump is a whole lot more sanitary than shaking hands.

The findings, published in the American Journal of Infection Control, showed a handshake transferred 10 times as many bacteria as a meeting of fists, while a palm-to-palm high-five was somewhere in-between.

In the Telegraph, Dr. Dave Whitworth explained the importance of the study.

People rarely think about the health implications of shaking hands. But if the general public could be encouraged to fist bump, there is a genuine potential to reduce the spread of infectious diseases. When there’s flu going round or coughs and colds, definitely if you want to touch someone as a greeting a fist bump is much better than a handshake. It potentially could have a significant impact on reducing flu when there is an epidemic.

Or, one could just go Japanese and do a polite bow. It makes a lot more sense than shaking hands when you don’t know where that hand has been. A decade ago, when the SARS epidemic terrorized Toronto where I live, a lot of people refused to shake hands and just did a polite wave. Not a bad plan.

This post originally appeared on TreeHugger

Photo Credit: Clare via Flickr


Nils Anders Lunde
PlsNoMessage se2 years ago


Natasha Salgado
natasha salgado2 years ago

This is too funny--thanks

Alexandra G.
Alexandra G.2 years ago

interesting, thanks

Vesper B.
Vesper B.2 years ago

What will be next?

Maria Teresa Schollhorn

Thank you.

Carole R.
Carole R.2 years ago


Janet B.
Janet B.2 years ago


Carla van der Meer


Leia P.
Leia P.2 years ago

why not?

Eternal Gardener
Eternal Gardener2 years ago

They are such a cool couple...