It is no secret that our hands are incredibly effective at sharing germs, with an estimated 80% of all infections being spread by them. This has lead to many health experts, in the past, to claim that humans should stop shaking hands altogether, and adopt a ‘fist bump’ greeting instead, in order to reduce the rate of spreading diseases. However, a recent study into hygiene around the workplace has resulted in a fascinating statement from scientists at Yale University, who believe that every school and workplace in the United States could become up to 84% more hygienic by simply clapping with their knees instead of their hands.
"There have been many studies into the consequences of shaking hands, and the results of these studies are certainly consistent. However, we see very few of the experiments taken to the next level, to investigate further," explained Dr. Kenji Futimoto. "This is exactly what we did. In doing so, we found that billions of germs are spread through the act of clapping hands - not just shaking them with other people - and we would advise that all establishments in America that regularly encourage applause as a form of congratulations; offices, schools etc, should cease using their hands immediately and start clapping with their knees. In testing, this produced almost 90% less germs."
Despite these promising claims, this theory has certainly been met by a great deal of opposition. Many complain that the act of clapping becomes a futile gesture when little or no noise is generated. Meanwhile, a high school in Minnesota, which had recently been trialing the ‘knee clapping’ alternative, was forced to cancel their annual sports day after 63 children were temporarily hospitalised, having developed multiple knee contusions, following a particularly rambunctious prize-giving ceremony.