Jul 31, 2014 12:50 AM GMT
NYT: Weak handshakes are often frowned upon, but they may be healthier than firm ones. A fist bump, though, may be an even healthier choice.
British researchers did a simple experiment. After dipping a gloved hand into a dense culture of Escherichia coli, a bacterium commonly found in human intestines, an experimenter shook hands, bumped fists or high-fived with a person wearing a sterile glove. They repeated the tests several times and analyzed the gloves for transmission of germs. The results were published in the August issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.
About twice as many bacteria were transferred to the clean glove with a handshake as with a high-five, and the fist bump consistently produced the lowest transmission of all.
They then did the fist bump and high-five tests with three more seconds of contact, and tested various pressures and durations for the handshake. Prolonging the high-five had little effect, but making the fist bump three seconds longer significantly increased the transfer of bacteria. A strong handshake (as measured with a dynamometer) was especially effective, moving germs hand to hand in almost twice the quantities of a moderate handshake.