Beyond The Headline

Handshake vs. Fist Bump: Which is safer?

Beyond The Headline

Dr. Richard Besser set out to find out which is a safer interaction during the flu season, the fist bump or the hand shake.

Of course the hand shake and the fist bump aren’t equal greetings. He wouldn’t recommend you first bump at a job interview or when you meet your girlfriend’s parents for the first time.

But there are times when you have a choice, and Dr. Besser wants you to know which is safest.

The palm of the hand comes in contact with more surfaces like keyboards and doorknobs but you never know who’s wiping their nose with the back of their hand, so Dr. Besser went to a food safety lab to find out once and for all, which is safer.

For the experiment, a lab technician coated Dr. Besser’s hands in a type of e. coli that is not dangerous. Then the lab created a line of volunteers who’s hands were cleaned with alcohol wipes. Dr. Besser shook the hand of the first person, who shook the hand of the person next to them, all the way down the line. Then they did the same thing with the fist.

The Results? If you’re worried about catching something, it’s safer to do a fist bump. But if you’re worried about getting the job or your girlfriend’s dad’s approval, shake hands and make sure you wash them before you eat popcorn.

View Comments (495)