The fist bump: a more hygienic alternative to the handshake

Am J Infect Control. 2014 Aug;42(8):916-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2014.04.011.


The handshake is a commonplace greeting in many cultures, but it has the potential to transmit infectious organisms directly between individuals. We developed an experimental model to assay transfer of bacteria during greeting exchange, and show that transfer is dramatically reduced when engaging in alternative so-called dap greetings known as the high five and fist bump compared with a traditional handshake. Adoption of the fist bump as a greeting could substantially reduce the transmission of infectious disease between individuals.

Keywords: Bacteria; Greeting; Hygiene; Pathogen; Transmission.

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Bacterial Infections / transmission*
  • Behavior Therapy
  • Gestures*
  • Hand Hygiene*
  • Humans