Health

Fist bumps are healthier than shaking hands

Nov. 25, 2013 at 12:15 PM ET

Video: First bumping has gone mainstream as a way of saying hello, and now researchers found out that the trendy greeting technique reduces the spread of bacteria compared to shaking hands. TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie reports.

Fight the flu with a fist bump!  

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama took the way-to-go greeting mainstream. Ichabod Crain learned it from Lt. Abbie Mills in a recent episode of "Sleepy Hollow." And "America's Got Talent" judge Howie Mandel has been doing them for years. 

Turns out, a fist bump is not only "super-cool, it's actually good for you," TODAY anchor Savannah Guthrie said Monday, as she traded fist bumps with other TODAY anchors.

A recent study found that doing a fist bump — the "closed-fisted high-five" as described by The New York Times — instead of shaking hands could reduce the spread germs. Even if you regularly scrub your paws, as many as "80 percent of individuals retain some disease-causing bacteria" after washing, according to the research from West Virginia University scientists published in the Journal of Hospital Infection. Besides, few of us actually wash our hands the right way — rubbing them together with soap for at least 20 seconds.

A fist bump reduces the amount of skin you're exposed to and germ contact time, the researchers said. 

Just go easy on the "explosion at the end," says TODAY's Tamron Hall. "That's the only mistake people make." 



TOP