We are a germ-fearing people and for good reason. It is not surprising to see plastic bottles of hand sanitizer hooked to someone’s keychain or purse. Signs warn us at almost every turn how important it is to wash our hands frequently and to sneeze into the crook of our arms like vampires when we have an allergy or the cold. We are constantly researching ways in which to fight germs and the no-see-’em baddies that could bring us down with the flu or some other junk. Some of the newest news developments, surfacing as early as yesterday, make mention of robots that zap germs in hospitals and a special kind of clay that could quite possibly become our next most popular way to fight germs. And late last month, we learned that fist bumps are also alternatives that could save us from the germs we fear.
NPR reported by way of its readers that a fist bump is actually “cleaner than a traditional handshake.” And to compound this idea into fact, it seems that scientists have confirmed that the no-see-’em baddies can’t cross over as well as they do when we clasp hands in greeting or even give high fives. A study published in the August issue of the American Journal for Infection Control stated quite plainly that “‘Fist bumping’ transmits significantly fewer bacteria than either handshaking or high-fiving. Scientific fact!
The fist bump stands apart as far as greetings go. According to NPR, the gesture creates a field of equality and expresses “approval and triumph.” This is added goodness to the point that germs have less of a chance of infecting those around us. Further, fist bumps are just fun and create an air of positivity! This is so much less serious and boring than the very formal handshake.
The study about fist bumping came out of a very serious call from The Journal of the American Medical Association to ban handshakes in medical settings. It’s really tricky though, since handshakes are such a social norm. The study recognizes that saying no to a handshake could very well be detrimental in social and business situations. However, it can’t be denied how serious a problem it can be if germs are spread by such contact in a place like a hospital.
The study noted that medical communities seemed to more frequently notice that handshakes were indeed spreading around enough germs to cause concern and hence, new policies had to be instilled. As for a movement towards nixing the handshake, doctors and officials noted that though it’s unlikely that a “no-contact greeting could supplant the handshake,” it’s important to take into consideration that all other forms of hand-related greetings spread germs and help them proliferate. Fist bumps are highly encouraged!