Can a Fist Bump Reduce the Spread of Bacteria?


According to Business Insider, it can, “Handshakes transfer double the amount of bacteria that you’ll get from a hi-five greeting – but fist bumps have the lowest risk of transmission.”

A study in the American Journal of Infection Control allegedly shows that greeting someone with a handshake increases the risk of disease-causing bacteria considerably.

A different study found an up to four-fold reduction in bacterial transfer through fist bumps in comparison to handshakes.

Bacterial transmission can reportedly be reduced by up to 50% through hi-fives and up to 90% through fist bumps, and some even suggest banning the handshake entirely in medical settings. 

In South Africa the most common greetings are handshakes, it can be difficult to avoid handshakes in social or business settings.

An alternative could be to carry hand sanitiser with high alcohol content, which can have a bactericidal (a substance that kills bacteria) effect of up 95%.

Although this does not alleviate the risk of transmission, it is a quick option to get rid of any bacteria that might have transferred during the handshake already.

Health experts have recommended avoiding shaking people’s hands in order to avoid the risk of being infected with the Covid-19 virus, which was declared an international public health emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in January 2020.