Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Fist bumping 'may help reduce flu'

Dr Dave Whitworth and Sara Mela demonstrate the fist bump (Anthony Pugh Photography/Aberystwyth University)

Bumping fists rather than shaking hands could help reduce the spread of infectious diseases by up to 90%.

High doses of bugs were passed on during a handshake, but this was reduced by more than half during a high five and 90% when bumping fists, researchers at Aberystwyth University in west Wales found.

They used rubber gloves and a thick layer of the potentially deadly bacteria E.coli in the experiment, which found the hygienic nature of the fist bump was in part due to its speed as well as there being a smaller contact area.

Senior lecturer Dr Dave Whitworth said: "People rarely think about the health implications of shaking hands. But if the general public could be encouraged to fist bump, there is a genuine potential to reduce the spread of infectious diseases."

The study was published in the August edition of the American Journal of Infection Control.

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