Handshakes are germ bombs - embrace the fist bump!


There’s a movement afoot to end handshaking.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 80% — 80%! — of all infections are transmitted by hands.

That very well might explain why you are sick —- or recovering from being sick. Same goes for your co-workers. Your kids. Your S.O. And so on.

PHOTOS: Look who’s embracing the fist bump


Experts say frequent that hand washing goes a long way toward curbing the spread of “influenza-attributable illness” in adults, which costs the nation more than $83.3 billion each year in lost productivity and medical bills.

But the reality is that some of us — how to put this delicately — are a little cleaner than others.

One solution, says Atlantic senior editor James Hamblin, is to stop shaking hands and embrace the fist bump as a more hygienic greeting. We’ll let Hamblin, a medical school graduate turned journalist, explain it in technical terms:

“Handshaking is gross,” he told the Los Angeles Times. (If you want to know how gross, keep reading.)

He is now a proponent of the fist bump as a way to greet others, an idea he began espousing in print — a.k.a. the Fist Bump Manifesto — after reading about the germ-curbing tactic in a medical journal.

Hamblin is not alone. Psychology Today also has called for ending this cherished cultural tradition, and there’s a website dedicated to it: Stop Handshaking. And if you take a spin through our photo gallery above, you’ll find some well-known folks who prefer the fist bump over a handshake.


“I get emails from people who think this is a great idea,” Hamblin said, “but it’s going to require some real thought-leading pioneers to make a change.”

Now, for the fist bump. Or knuckle bump, if you prefer. How do you pull it off with just the right amount of swagger? Hamblin made this helpful video, which will also show you just how gross handshaking can be.

Ready to give up the handshake in favor of the fist bump? Or do you have a better idea? Tweet me @renelynch


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