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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
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

    Opilio Recruitment: Field Marketing Manage

    £25k - 40k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

    Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Breakdown Engineers

    £28000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Breakdown Engineer...

    Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Breakdown Engineers

    £28000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Breakdown Engineer...

    Opilio Recruitment: Product Development Manager

    £40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We are currently recruit...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas