The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 1 in 25 hospitalized patients develop a healthcare-associated infection each year.
Our society dictates that when meeting someone new, the polite thing to do is shake their hand. But new research suggests the common handshake is great, if you want to make someone sick.
Infectious disease experts have a better and safer solution. They're suggesting the "fist bump" may be more hygienic than handshakes when doctors greet their patients. Dr. Mary Lou Manning, Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology says, "We're all just little petri dishes walking around."
Manning says our hands are covered with bacteria. Most of it is perfectly safe. But there are also potentially dangerous staph and viruses like the flu. Manning says, "For most patients, it won't be a problem, but for some, it will, and you just never know who those patients might be."
Hands are notorious for passing along germs because we touch everything with them, including our mouths and eyes.
A new study finds the handshake transmits double the amount of bacteria a high five would. The fist bump transmits even fewer. Some experts say a hands off approach may be safest. Manning says, "Rather than replace the handshake with something else that has contact, probably the better approach to keep patients safe is really not to do it at all."