Getting plenty of rest and eating right are two of the easiest ways to avoid the flu, and so is limiting contact with other people during the flu season. But it simply isn't reasonable to stay inside all winter long.
Eighty percent of infections are transferred by touching, and there is one simple and fun thing you can do to avoid getting sick and still be polite.
ABC's medical expert Dr. Richard Besser ran a test to answer the question of how best to greet each other during flu season.
He covered his hands in e. Coli and then shook hands, high fived or fist bumped germ-free volunteers at the International Food Safety Training Laboratory at the University of Maryland.
The volunteers then shook hands, high fived or fist bumped other volunteers. Then the volunteers pressed their hands onto special plates, which were incubated overnight.
The results? Everyone got some germs, but the hand shakers received the most and had enough germs on their hands to infect four more people. High fivers were the next most infectious group.
The results from the fist bumpers were drastic though. It was discovered that far fewer germs were present on the hands of the fist bumpers.
The reason for that is that fist bumping minimizes the area of contact and length of time that hands are in contact.
So, during the flu season, instead of shaking hands, maybe you should consider doing the fist bump. And if you are really concerned about the flu, consider doing the elbow bump.