When returning home, sometimes we have so much to do that we don’t even have time to change or remove our shoes. However, this habit seemingly innocuous is actually very harmful to your health. In this article, we will review the most common and more serious diseases that might reach you, because of your shoes.
Once out of your home, you usually walk hundreds or even thousands of feet throughout the day. Your office, restaurant, stores, etc., your shoes are in contact with a multitude of surfaces where proliferate endless amounts of bacteria, germs, viruses, etc. Wherever you step, the soles of your shoes are contaminated with pathogens and this is means of transport that will guide them to your house.
Moreover, a study conducted by the University of Arizona found that the outer surface of the shoes carry 420.000 different bacteria. Another study by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has also detected the presence of a strongly acidic herbicide classified as a carcinogen by the World Health Organization. Furthermore, microbiologists from the University of Arizona found that 90% to 99% of bacteria accumulated on your shoes during the day spill out onto the floor of your home.
To better convince you to change this bad habit, here are the types of pathogenic bacteria that you carry in your shoes and illnesses they can cause.
The main types of pathogenic bacteria carried by the outer surface of the shoes
– E. coli
Escherichia coli is one of the most common bacteria in the environment. Generally non-pathogenic, it is found in some foods and in the intestines of animals and humans. However, some of its varieties are very aggressive and can cause several diseases such as pneumonia or other respiratory diseases, acute diarrhea, urinary tract infections, etc. Moreover in 2011, an epidemic caused by E. coli Shiga toxin erupted in Europe. This infection is accompanied by diarrhea, sometimes with bleeding, abdominal pain, vomiting or ulcerative colitis may develop in some cases and cause hemolytic uremic syndrome (low platelets, acute renal failure).
– Klebsiella pneumoaniae
Diseases caused by this bacterium are multiple and depend on the portion of the contamination. It is usually causes respiratory diseases, pneumonia, infection of the blood vessels, wounds, surgical wounds, meningitis and urinary tract infection. Symptoms of infection with Klebsiella pneumoaniae generally appear as fever, chills, rash, dizziness, impaired mental abilities, cough, blood in the mucus and various breathing problems. The danger of this bacterium is its resistance to a wide range of antibiotics and in some cases to all antibiotics.
– Serratia ficaria
This is one of the rare bacteria and usually affects patients in hospitals with poor hygiene or inadequate sterilization of equipment. Serratia ficaria is responsible for about 2% of cases of nosocomial infections (hospital acquired infections) of the bloodstream, lower respiratory tract, urinary tract, surgical wounds, skin and soft tissues in adults. But by binding on the shoes of the visitors or patients, this bacterium manages to leave the hospital and contaminate other areas, causing an infection of the respiratory and urinary tracts.
Its full name, 2.4-dichlorophenoxyacetic, the 2.4-D is an organic compound used in agriculture as herbicide that attacks broadleaf weeds. However, according to WHO and IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer), exposure to this herbicide exposes humans at increased risk of cancer and can even lead to non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer that arises in lymphocytes.
Finally, removing the shoes before entering your house and washing your hands are essential preventative actions, which will help you protect your health and that of your family, especially if you have children playing on the floor or crawling babies who put their hands into their mouth.