Handshakes & Health

May 21, 2011 by staff 

Handshakes & HealthHandshakes & Health, A graduation ceremony may include thousands of handshakes, but new research shows that casual contact is not likely to increase the risk of exposure to harmful bacteria. Maryland, students who hit a total of 5,209, while the hands of graduate schools across the state in 2008 was only a small risk of disease-causing bacteria, according to a study by scientists from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School Public Health.

The study examined the risk of pathogenic bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus aureus resistant to methicillin (MRSA) by shaking hands at graduation ceremonies ranging from primary school to university. Researchers swabbed the hands of the participants before and immediately after graduation to identify disease-causing (pathogenic) bacteria. Were detected only three cases of Staphylococcus aureus out of the thousands of handshakes – a rate of 0.019 by pathogens handshake – and found that 93 percent of the bacteria were harmless.

The study appears in the June issue of the Journal of School Nursing.

“A handshake alone offers only a small risk of harmful bacteria,” said Dr. David Bishai, a professor with the Bloomberg School’s department of population, family and reproductive health in a press release from the university. “Our study indicates that a handshake, the rate of hand contamination among graduate students to be 100 times lower than the rate of 17 percent observed among health professionals caring for patients known to be colonized with MRSA.”

The reasons for the lower rate of pollution in the rankings include the “contact much shorter and less extensive in a handshake” that contact with patients in the hospital, according to Bishai.

“Based on the evidence from this study, the likelihood of acquiring bacterial pathogens during handshake may be lower than is commonly perceived by the general public,” he said Bishai. “With an estimated lower limit of a bacterial pathogen acquired in 5209 handshakes, the study provides politicians, preachers, directors, deans and shakers hand even fans some reassurance that shaking hands with strangers is not as profane as some might think. “

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