India, Japan, Canada, and Ireland are some of the countries where it’s rude to keep one’s shoes on when entering a house. They must have realized something before the rest of the world, which is also something that many studies have shown: Shoes can be an important source of contamination in your house, and not just for the obvious reason of spreading dirt.
The Elite Indian has summarized the info found in some of these studies to help you be aware of what you’re letting into your house.
We gather germs on our everyday walks.
Think about your regular day. You walk to work, get your daily cappuccino at your regular café, then use the office bathroom, make a stop at the supermarket, and go back home again. That’s a lot of places your shoes step on. And all those floors contaminate their soles with more than just dust and mud, as a study from the University of Arizona proved.
Poop, poop everywhere
When microbiologist Dr. Charles Gerba analyzed a set of shoes, he and his team found an average of 421,000 types of bacteria, not only stuck to the soles, but growing on them. They also discovered that almost 3,000 types of bacteria lived inside the shoes. And the most shocking part: 96% were housing fecal matter, in other words, poop. They could be dirtier than a toilet seat.
Almost 3 out of 10 shoes had E.coli, a bacteria that flourishes inside your intestines and that, although it’s usually harmless, is known for causing stomach issues that are in some cases deadly. Some types of E.coli are even getting stronger against antibiotics. Additionally, 7 out of 10 shoes presented microorganisms that cause infections in the urinary tract and lungs.
Public restrooms may be one of the primary sources of contamination where millions of bacteria reproduce. Some of them can survive the power of your most reliable cleaning products and antibiotics, like the bacteria C. Difficile, identified on 39.7% of shoe soles and guilty for producing strong stomach aches, diarrhea episodes, and life-threatening bowel inflammation, all of which are especially hard on children.
Germs are just one of our concerns: Watch out for hazardous materials
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And if all of those disgusting microorganisms weren’t enough, we still have one more thing to worry about: chemicals. On an average day, you not only step on dirt, but also on harmful toxins and dangerous chemicals that come from your stop at the gas station, a leak from a car, or a cigarette on the floor. Some of them, like those found on asphalt roads sealed with coal, can even increase your risk of developing cancer, as researchers from Baylor University in Texas found.
Home, nasty home
On your everyday wanderings, you step on dog and bird waste, rotten food scraps, public bathrooms, strong chemicals, and who knows what else. That’s a nasty chemical and bacteria cocktail for you.
So, if you don’t take off your shoes before entering your home sweet home, then you will be inviting between 90% and 99% of these gross living creatures and hazardous substances onto your floors, couch, and if you’re not careful, your bed.
It’s not about being paranoid since we still need to be able to create antibodies, just be careful of what you let inside your house.
Are you particularly strict about taking off your shoes before going inside your home? What other practice would you suggest we maintain for our health’s sake? Please, share it in the comments!
Preview photo credit Depositphotos.com