Kiss > Handshake

Introductions usually start off with a handshake. But little did you know that you would actually be better off kissing them hello!

Scientific studies have found that you are more likely to pass germs through a handshake rather than a kiss. People’s hands touch way more than their lips, so they are exposed to many more germs. Think of yourself going through a normal day. You open your door, you touch bathroom stalls, you touch your keyboard, your phone, your hair, your face, other people, etc. After touching different objects and people, there are millions of germs that build up on your hands, so when you give a handshake that is two hands touching, both with numerous amounts of germs, so when you touch you are then spreading bacteria leading to common colds and illnesses. Most people are not going to kiss each other if one of them is sick, but people continue to shake people’s hands even when they are sick.


When two people kiss each other they are sharing millions of bacteria. In fact, even in a quick 10 second kiss, there are 80 million bacteria are transferred between the two mouths, pretty unsanitary right.

The most common greeting is a handshake, but what researchers have found that giving a high five instead of a shake is 20 times less more likely to spread bacteria. Interestingly enough hugging a sick person is even less likely to share germs than giving someone a handshake. Not only does hugging provide less access to germs, it also has immune-protective benefits, including reducing the levels of stress and blood pressure in your body.



Britain’s leading flu expert, Prof John Oxford, and a virologist at Barts hospital and the London School of Medicine has concluded that greeting someone with a kiss would cut down the spread of infections. After experiencing and determining the amount of bacteria being spread between people, they found that the best and safest way to greet someone is by kissing not their mouth but their cheek. They even provided information on whether people would want to kiss the left or the right. Social expert, Liz Brewer, stated that kissing the right cheek symbolizes more of a heart to heart greet, whereas kissing the left cheek is more of a friendly kiss.

After reading all of the research on the germs that spread from handshaking, it really makes me rethink the best way to greet people. Although, kissing people I am meeting for the first time just doesn’t sound like the right kind of greet.

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7 thoughts on “Kiss > Handshake

  1. Jovian Ebony Osborne-pantlitz

    Wow, interesting topic. I believe there are a lot of other risk factors that come with introducing yourself with a kiss. Like mono, so I personally wouldn’t start doing this and question, if everyone starts kissing as a form of introduction, wouldn’t the mouth have more germs than your hands?

  2. Ahmed Mohamed

    This is pretty neat. In other cultures, it is more acceptable to give a kiss on the cheek as a greeting. I wonder what the data looks like for different countries around the world?

  3. Kateryna Okhrimchuk

    This is such a cool topic! I seriously never thought about the fact that kissing can spread less germs than a handshake. I find it so interesting that there are multiple studies, though, concluding the fact that a dogs mouth is cleaner than a humans. That’s pretty disgusting, considering the fact that dogs can eat random things off the ground, or even do something like drink water out of a toilet bowl. That makes you think about how clean our mouths actually are and if kissing someone instead of giving them a handshake is actually much more sanitary. Cheek kissing is also super common, especially in countries like France! I definitely agree that this is a lot more sanitary than kissing someone the lips. What is a little off-putting, though, is the fact that our phone touches our cheeks and the bacteria from our fingers (and probably other peoples fingers too) get on our face. Isn’t this actually worse than shaking hands, because now that bacteria could be on our lips?

  4. Mansi M Patel

    This post is so funny! I wonder if people will start kissing more instead of giving handshakes. It seemed rather obvious to me that high fives transmit less bacteria than would a handshake, so I guess high fives and quick kisses last the same amount of time, and I’ve heard the longer that you are in contact with the bacteria’s surface, the more bacteria is transmitted.

  5. Lauren Elizabeth Jardine

    In my school we had a lot of exchange students from Argentina. Whenever you met anyone of them they automatically went for a kiss on the cheek and it was actually really sweet. It created a more personal relationship faster. The one downside is that in their town in Buenos Aires lice is very very common. They say that most people just live with it and don’t even try to get rid of the lice. To me while a kiss on the cheek is nice it also probably worsens the lice problem they have, so maybe it won’t get you as sick, but it some places a kiss on the cheek might get you lice.

  6. Taylor M Stewart

    Maybe this is why so many girls kiss random guys at frat parties (not me, I stay in my room) lol but that is interesting to know that something people hold so exclusive, is more sanitary than a hand shake. But also I believe STD’s can be transmitted through kissing, so it actually may not be. Very interesting to think about. Great post

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