Fist Bump Your Doctor!

Contrary to popular belief, hospitals are not a “safe-zone” for catching an infection.  In fact, infections transmitted in health-care facilities kill at least 80,000 Americans each year. What’s the common culprit?  The germ-spreading handshake.

According to a recent study in the  American Journal of Infection Control, a fist bump could be a much safer greeting between physician and patients.  David Whitworth, a biochemistry lecturer at Aberystwyth University in Wales,  “found that the handshake transferred 10 to 20 times more bacteria than a fist bump,”

“Adoption of the fist bump as a greeting could substantially reduce the transmission of infectious disease between individuals,” Whitworth fist-bumpand colleagues report in the American Journal of Infection Control.

Shoulder Squeeze 

It’s debatable whether knocking knuckles can stand in for the familiarity of an open palm. Mark Sklansky, a pediatric cardiologist at the  University of California at Los Angeles, has doubts. “Some people feel it’s not appropriate in a medical setting,” he says. “I find squeezing someone’s shoulder a nicer interaction.”

High Five

Whitworth also found that a high five transfers half as many bacteria as the handshake (though it’s perhaps best appreciated by pediatric patients).

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