News Perspectives

Study: Bump Beats Shake for Germ Control

To reduce the spread of germs, at least in hospitals, a new article argues for bumping fists instead of shaking hands. Researchers worked in pairs. Both put on a pair of new, germ-free (sterile) gloves for each experiment. One person dipped a glove into a solution containing E. coli bacteria. The researchers bumped fists. Then they removed the gloves so the germs on the formerly sterile glove could be measured. Using different gloves, they tried the same experiment with two other greetings: handshaking and "high fives" (slapping palms together). Handshaking transferred 10 times as many germs as a fist bump and twice as many as a "high five." The Journal of the American Medical Association recently called for banning handshakes in hospitals. The new findings appear in the American Journal of Infection Control. HealthDay News wrote about them July 28.

To continue reading this article you must be registered.

Get Licensed Content to Harvard Health

If you are interested in licensing content from Harvard Health Publications, please contact us using our online form. Our licensing and business development professionals will help you leverage consumer health content from Harvard Medical School as a clear differentiator in helping achieve your business goals.

Contact Us

Customer Log In