Fist bumps cleaner than hand­shakes

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS -

LON­DON: Hos­pi­tals should ban hand­shakes and en­cour­age “fist bumps” as an al­ter­na­tive greet­ing, ex­perts say.

The ges­ture, pop­u­lar among teenagers, sports­men and even for­mer US pres­i­dent Barack Obama, spreads fewer germs than shak­ing hands, and it is hoped this might slow the rise of po­ten­tially deadly drug-re­sis­tant su­per­bugs.

Hand­shakes have al­ready been banned in two hos­pi­tals in Los An­ge­les af­ter a trial by pae­di­atrics pro­fes­sor Dr Mark Sk­lan­sky, and ex­perts say Bri­tish hos­pi­tals should fol­low suit.

But oth­ers dis­missed the idea, ar­gu­ing it is more im­por­tant to fo­cus on thor­ough hand-wash­ing in­stead.

Sk­lan­sky of the David Gef­fen School of Medicine at UCLA, said stop­ping shak­ing hands was “the most ob­vi­ous and eas­i­est” way to min­imise hospi­tal-ac­quired

‘Prob­lem isn’t the hand­shake: it’s the hand-shaker’

in­fec­tions. Dr David Whit­worth, a mi­cro­bi­ol­o­gist at Aberys­t­wyth Univer­sity in Wales, agreed, say­ing there are so many hospi­tal-ac­quired in­fec­tions that “even a slight re­duc­tion could save many lives”.

Mau­reen Shawn Kennedy, editor of the Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Nurs­ing, said: “Just be­cause some­one is in a white coat doesn’t mean they don’t have bac­te­ria on their hands.”

But Her­bert Fred, editor of the Texas Heart In­sti­tute Jour­nal, said: “The prob­lem isn’t the hand­shake: it’s the hand-shaker. If we ban the hand­shake, we might as well ban the phys­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion. Both prac­tices can spread germs.”

Whit­worth con­ducted a study in 2014 that found a firm hand­shake was the least hy­gienic greet­ing, pass­ing on twice as much bac­te­ria as a high five and ten times more than a fist bump. – Daily Mail

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.