Dr Dave Whitworth and PhD student Sara Mela
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Handshake poses greater health risk than fist bump, researchers claim

Shaking hands poses a higher health risk of infection than fist bumps or high-fives when greeting people, according to researchers from Aberystwyth University.

They took a pair of sterile rubber gloves and dipped one into a bacterial broth so the outside was completely coated in E. coli.

They then performed a range of hand manoeuvres including handshakes of varying intensities, fist bumps and high-fives.

The findings, published in the American Journal of Infection Control, showed a handshake transferred 10 times as many bacteria as a meeting of fists, while a palm-to-palm high-five was somewhere in-between.

It is thought the smaller area of contact and shorter duration in the bump reduced the spread of bacteria.

Dr Dave Whitworth, who led the study, said there were certain situations and times of year when the risks increased.

  • 28 Jul 2014
  • From the section Wales