Want to reduce the risk of disease? Abandon shaking hands, and start bumping fists...

Academics at Aberystwth University in west Wales came to the conclusion following a series of tests on hand hygiene

Traditionalists may be inclined to disagree, but a new study has revealed that fist bumps and high-fives are better greetings than firm handshakes – at least in terms of your health.

In fact, even adopting a limper, weaker grip when meeting people would have a noticeable impact on the spread of infectious diseases, experts have said.

The researchers from Aberystwth University found that a strong handshake passes on as many as 10 times the number of bacteria compared to bumping fists.

A high-five reduces exposure by roughly half compared to a handshake, the scientists said.

Using rubber gloves, Dr Dave Whitworth and PhD student Sara Mela dipped one hand into a bacterial soup, coating it with E. coli.

They then performed a range of hand gestures of various intensities, recording which greetings passed on the most bacteria.

Read more:
The 10 biggest threats to the world's health
World Hepatitis Day: We could eliminate hepatitis C
Barack Obama fist bumps Texas restaurant employee

Dr Whitworth, a senior lecturer at Aberystwyth, said the hygienic nature of the fist bump was in part due to its speed as well as there being a smaller contact area.

“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 has been published in the American Journal of Infection Control, and comes on World Hepatitis Day and with viral diseases like Ebola making headlines like never before.

Aberystwyth University researchers Dr David Whitworth, left, and PhD student Sara Mela Aberystwyth University researchers Dr David Whitworth, left, and PhD student Sara Mela It is not the first time it has been proposed that there are more hygienic alternatives to shaking hands – and doctors in the US have previously argued that the traditional practice should be banned altogether.

But Dr Whitworth told the BBC: “There's a lot of inertia into changing this, a handshake is a badge of office and medics are trained to have a firm handshake to infuse patients with confidence, but you've got to ask is that appropriate behaviour.”

He added that the study, aimed at a wider audience than the medical community, was inspired by increased measures at promoting cleanliness in the workplace through the use of hand-sanitisers and keyboard disinfectants.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

    £28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

    £16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

    Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

    £16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

    Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

    £17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

    Day In a Page

    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
    'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

    'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

    British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
    Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

    Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

    Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
    14 best kids' hoodies

    14 best kids' hoodies

    Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk