A study undertaken by researchers from the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences at Aberystwyth University, UK established the fact that bumping fists or giving a high five is a more hygienic way of greeting someone than shaking hands.
In the experiment, a greeter immersed a sterile–gloved hand into a container of germs. Once the glove dried, the greeter exchanged a handshake, fist bump and a high–five with sterile–gloved recipients. Exchanges randomly varied in duration as well as the intensity of contact. After the greeting, the recipient sterile gloves were immersed in a solution to count the number of bacteria transferred during the contact. Nearly, twice as many bacteria were transferred during a handshake when compared to a high–five and significantly fewer bacteria were transferred during a fist bump than a high–five.
In all the three forms of greeting, a longer duration of contact and stronger grips were further associated with increased bacterial transmission. The study is based on the recent call from the Journal of the American Medical Association to ban handshakes in hospitals so as to avoid a hand–to–hand contact between patients and clinicians.