Science: Fist bump, dudes

It is part of the Bro Code — and it also may be coming to a hospital near you. Enter, the fist bump.

Recently, researchers in Morgantown, W.Va., were stumped when trying to treat MRSA (methicilin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) in hospitals. MRSA is difficult to treat and is antibiotic-resistant. In hospitals, where patients —and potentially even their families — may have the bacteria on their hands, Dr. W. Thomas McClellan had an idea.

“Hey, how about a fist bump?” He now asks when he greets young patients.

Why? Well, it’s a simple theory: The more you limit your exposure to bacteria, the less likely you are to contract it. Fist bumps expose far less of your hand than the palm-to-palm contact of a standard handshake does.

The study, published in the Journal of Hospital Infection, concludes that fist-bumps can reduce the transmission of bacteria by about four times, compared to shaking hands. But, the fist-bump isn’t the answer to everything.

“You can’t fist bump and never wash your hands,” McClellan said. “I’m not saying that everyone should be going around fist-bumping, but people should have an awareness of what they’re doing. … You need to wash your hands, you need to limit exposure and you need to use alcohol sanitizers.”

To learn more about the study, click here.

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