Dr. Bill tells us why we should stop shaking hands—and start bumping fists! Show Notes

Friday, August 08, 2014 Host(s): Dr. Bill Maier
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Want to cut down your risk of getting sick? Stop shaking hands and start bumping fists!

New research shows that ditching handshakes in favor of more informal fist bumps could help cut down on the spread of bacteria and illnesses

Reuters is reporting on the study, which found that fist bumps, where two people briefly press the top of their closed fists together, transferred 90 percent less bacteria than handshakes.

Study author Dave Whitworth, a biologist at Aberystwyth University in the UK, says "People rarely think about the health implications of shaking hands. If the general public could be encouraged to fist bump, there is genuine potential to reduce the spread of infectious diseases.”

By the way, the fist bump appears to enjoy the support of President Obama and the Dalai Lama…both of them have been seen enthusiastically using the greeting.

If want to know the yucky details, the researchers had people put on gloves that had been coated with a non-disease causing form of E. coli bacteria.

These people then either shook hands, high-fived or fist-bumped their fellow subjects, who were wearing sterile gloves. Then the amount of transferred bacteria was measured. 

High-five slaps transferred about half the amount of bacteria as shaking hands, but it was the fist bumpers who spread the LEAST amount of germies.

Handshakes relay more germs because they result in a larger area of contact between hands, but the strength and length of handshakes also played a role.

The researchers stated that "Transmission is greater with increased duration and grip.”

By the way, the research was prompted by an increase in workplace cleanliness measures, including the growing use of hand sanitizers and keyboard disinfectants.

You know, I’m definitely NOT a germaphobe, but thinking about those rubber gloves coated with E coli kind of creeps me out!

I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.
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