Want to cut HAIs? Try a fist bump.

A fist-bump may be the answer to reducing hospital-acquired infections, according to a new study.

The study examined what happened when two hospital workers traveled through a facility--one shook the hands of 20 co-workers, while the other used a fist bump. Their hands were then tested for bacterial samples. The incubated culture of the worker who shook hands developed four times as much bacteria as that of the fist-bumping colleague, including those that contribute to nosocomial infections, MedCity News reports.

"We have determined that implementing the fist bump in the healthcare setting may further reduce bacterial transmission between healthcare providers by reducing contact time and total surface area exposed when compared with the standard handshake," said researchers in the study, which was recently published in the Journal of Hospital Infection.

Nosocomial infections are defined as those occurring 48 hours after admission, within three days of discharge, or within 30 days of surgery. These infections cost nearly $10 billion a year to treat. MedCity News acknowledged that the study had limitations--using just two workers as a study sample is hardly comprehensive, the publication noted.

However, the concern the hospital sector has with controlling nosocomial infections is not overblown. According to Medscape, the recent American Public Health Association annual meeting discussed in-depth options hospitals have to reduce the infection rates, particularly given the fact such infections are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics. These options include tweaking ventilation systems and alarm systems to make sure employees spend enough time washing their hands. 

To learn more:
- read the MedCity News article
- here's the Medscape article
- check out the study

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