Were you raised to take your shoes off in your home or keep them on? Specialists take a closer look at the habit of keeping them on and … well, you’ll just have to see it on your own.
Picture yourself walking down the street, enjoying the cool breeze and catching some Vitamin D from the sun. Do you stare blankly at the ground cautious about every leaf and soil that your shoes touch? Probably not, right? Well, let us tell you what latches onto your shoes.
One word: Bacteria. More specifically, your shoes are magnets for sources of E. coli such as bird droppings, dog waste, and public bathroom floors to name a few. Leaves and debris also carry plenty of bacteria even if you argue that you can’t see it.
According to studies, your shoes have on average 421,000 different types of bacteria, and if you step foot in your home with your shoes on, you move 90-99% of that bacteria. You don’t even need to do the math to realize that’s an awful lot of bacteria in your home only from wearing your shoes inside your home.
E. Coli And It’s Harmful Effects
Breaking down just one of those bacteria, E. coli (Escherichia coli) is a bacterium that lives in your intestines. It can cause diarrhea, intestinal problems, and urinary tract infections.
Symptoms of infection include stomach cramps, diarrhea (which can be bloody), nausea, and constant fatigue. The way you get infected is when you swallow even a small amount of the E. coli bacteria.
Now you’re probably thinking, that’s a lot that can come from the sole of a shoe. It cannot possibly get any worse than hundreds of thousands of bacteria carried by it. Well, we hate to break it to you but you’re wrong, it does get worse.
Clostridium Difficile Can Be Life Threatening
A new study in Houston, Texas found that your shoes carry a dangerous bacterium called C difficile (Clostridium difficile), which causes dangerous inflammation of the colon. Previously, they thought it’s usually captured in healthcare settings, however that’s far from the truth. When they took 2538 samples, only 448 originated from medical facilities.
The rest of the sample found that this bacterium caught on shoes from parks, chain stores, fast food restaurants and commercial stores. In addition, they found traces of this bacteria in people’s homes through their shoes. On average, 25% of people’s shoes carry this bacterium.
Signs And Symptoms Of C. Difficile
Around 500,000 people in the United States get ill from C. difficile, and the numbers have been climbing over the last few years. This infection is also becoming more difficult to treat. People severely infected with c. difficile get dehydrated along with symptoms of fever, blood or pus in the stool, swollen abdomen, fast heart rate, and many others.
See your doctor if you have three or more watery stools a day and symptoms lasting more than two days.
Simple Solution to Avoid Carrying Bacteria Into Your Home
The bright side is that you can prevent carrying these bacteria into your home by merely removing your shoes before you enter your main living area. If you’re choosing to wipe them on a mat instead, don’t!
Just because you’re wiping off noticeable dirt doesn’t mean your shoes are without bacteria. What that does is add more bacteria to your mat or potentially get more dirt for your shoes to carry.
If wearing your shoes inside your home is a practice of yours, seriously consider breaking it. It will free you and your family of thousands of bacteria you didn’t even know you brought into your home and that results in a more sanitary living situation overall.