Monday, July 28, 2014

Will fist bumps replace handshakes in the hospital?


In June, the well-respected Journal of the American Medical Association published an article that proposed "Banning the Handshake From the Health Care Setting."

Given the problem with hand hygiene and transmission of infections in hospitals, this isn't as far-fetched as it sounds.

But I bet the authors of the JAMA article didn't realize that another study, to be published in August in the American Journal of Infection Control, would take their proposal to the next level.

The newer piece concludes that “fist bumping” -- the gesture made popular by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama during the 2012 election campaign -- transmits significantly fewer bacteria than a handshake or a high-five.

Researchers from the Institute of Biological, Environmental, and Rural Sciences at Aberystwyth University in Wales found nearly twice as many bacteria were transferred during a handshake compared to a high-five, and significantly fewer bacteria were transferred during a fist bump than a high-five.

“Adoption of the fist bump as a greeting could substantially reduce the transmission of infectious diseases between individuals,” said author David Whitworth. “It is unlikely that a no-contact greeting could supplant the handshake; however, for the sake of improving public health we encourage further adoption of the fist bump as a simple, free, and more hygienic alternative to the handshake.”

I won't hold my breath until this change of habit takes place. But any reminder that we should be more careful about transmitting germs in the hospital is welcome.

The hands of health-care providers frequently spread potentially harmful germs to patients, leading to "health-care associated infections," among the leading causes of preventable harm and death in the United States. 

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Now, you'd think that with in-depth reporting like this, they'd at least mention if making an explosion noise when you bump fists and then opening your fingers and bringing your hand back over your shoulder like a bomb just went off would be required when doing a fist bump.

Anonymous said...

Fist bumps have been around for ages in high school sports mainly as the cool thing to do since most guys say they never would touch another's hand since "you don't know where that hand has been" ...

Maybe the hand shakers of the world will do the same especially since disease's and germs are transferred by the open hand including many highly contagious deadly virus's ...

For world travelers who have been to the middle east the ancient history of the hand shake and mainly the right hand handshake came about into existence thousands of years ago.

In olden times and today the right hand was the good clean hand and the left hand the spare dirty hand.
Arabs started using the right hand shake because the left hand was used as an ancient anal feces wipe keeping the right hand free since there was no such thing as toilet paper or restrooms.

Ancient tradition became the accepted norm.

The practice of shaking hands needs to be eradicated entirely anyway due to the transfer of contagious germs and disease.

You can thank high school sports who would never touch any other hand but their own for any reason so they fist bump. They are not stupid ...

Eliminating the universal right hand hand shake could also save trillions in medicals and save untold lives and lost time for America or the world. Its the silent killer. Fist bump or just nod your head.

If you do hand shake then immediately wash your hands thoroughly with detergent similar to doctors and surgeons.

Anonymous said...

I thought Fox News said a fist bump was a terrorist hand-shake back in 2008?