Perhaps pop stars have it right when it comes to giving the proverbial fist bump.

A new study published in the American Journal of Infection Control says bumping fists is a far more hygienic greeting than shaking hands. In fact, habitual handshaking is a surefire way to pass germs between people and can contribute to the spread of infection, according to researchers at Aberystwyth University, in Wales, United Kingdom.

Scientists used rubber gloves and a thick layer of E. coli to exchange handshakes, high fives and fist-bumps, varying handgrip and position to explore levels of bacterial transmission.

The experiment showed the transfer of potentially disease-causing bacteria to be the highest during the handshake. Greeting a person with a high five reduced bacterial exposure by 50 percent, while germ transfer was reduced by 90 percent using a fist bump.

“People rarely think about the health implications of shaking hands,” said Dave Whitworth, a senior lecturer at the university. “If the general public could be encouraged to fist bump, there is genuine potential to reduce the spread of infectious diseases.”

Even if fist bumps become the mainstream greeting in the business world, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to recommend regualr handwashing, hand sanitizing, and thorough cleaning and disinfection throughout building environments to prevent diseases from spreading in the workplace.

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