Fist Bumps Transmit Less Bacteria than Handshakes, Study Finds

December 6, 2013 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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​Implementing the “fist bump” as a replacement for shaking hands in healthcare settings may further reduce bacterial transmission between healthcare providers, concludes a study published in the December 2013 Journal of Hospital Infection. According to the study’s authors, the fist bump, which is performed by making a fist and briefly touching one’s knuckles against the knuckles of another individual’s outstretched fist, is gaining social popularity as an alternative to the handshake and could reduce bacterial transmission between individuals by reducing contact surface area, reducing total contact time between individuals, and protecting fingertips from pathogen exposure. In the study, subjects traveled a predetermined route through a hospital performing the same tasks, such as pushing elevator buttons and using door handles.

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