High-five or fist-bump 'more hygienic' than handshake

Scientists at Aberystwyth University say up to ten times more bacteria is spread through handshakes compared to other forms of greeting. Their research, which is published in an American journal today, could help improve hygiene in places like hospitals.

Live updates

  1. Kevin Ashford

High-five or fist-bump 'more hygienic' than handshake

The traditional greeting of a handshake could be responsible for spreading bugs and bacteria, according to a study by Aberystwyth University.

Scientists there carried out research, published today in an American scientific journal, which revealed up to ten times more e-coli can be passed on by a handshake, compared to more modern greetings of a high-five or a fist-bump.

Let's not shake on it: Hygiene concerns over traditional greeting

Bumping fists may be a more hygienic greeting than shaking hands, experiments at Aberystwyth University have revealed.

Credit: Oli Scarff / PA Wire

Using rubber gloves and a thick layer of E. coli, scientists at the university exchanged handshakes, high-fives and fist-bumps.

Their results revealed the transfer of potentially disease-causing bacteria is highest during a handshake.

This was reduced by more than half in the high-five, with germ transfer a whopping 90% lower when bumping fists.

US President Barack Obama is a fan of the fist-bump Credit: PA Images

"People rarely think about the health implications of shaking hands. If the general public could be encouraged to fist-bump, there is genuine potential to reduce the spread of infectious diseases."

– Dr Paul Whitworth, Aberystwyth University


Back to top