Still wearing your shoes inside the house? You may be putting yourself and your loved ones at risk of bacterial infection or exposure to toxins. Everytime you enter the house, you bring in bacteria and other germs on your shoes. Here’s what you need to know about your risks and what you can do to keep your family safe from them.
Everytime you wear your shoes in your home, you are tracking fecal matter, bacteria, allergens, and toxins across your floors. All of these things build up in your carpets and can potentially make you and other family members ill. Here’s what you need to know about reducing your risk of exposure.
Stop Wearing Shoes In Your House to Reduce Exposure to Bacteria, Allergens, and Toxins!
Bringing Harmful Bacteria and Toxins Inside
Dr. Charles Gerba from the University of Arizona told Today that studies have shown that 93 percent of shoes worn for over a month will have fecal matter on the soles. Splashes of human waste on restroom floors, pet waste on sidewalks and in grass where you walk, and other forms of bacteria all become incredibly mobile when they attach to your shoes and end up in your home. Bacteria isn’t the only concern, either. Your shoes can pick up mold and other allergens, like ragweed and pollen, as well as the toxins found in lawn fertilizers, weed killers, gasoline, antifreeze, and any other chemical that has spilled onto the ground where you walk.
Harmful Bacteria May Make You Sick
While you probably aren’t eating your meals off of your floor, you likely have more contact with your floor than you realize. One of the prominent strains of bacteria found on flooring in the home was E. coli, a nasty bacterial strain known for causing gastrointestinal issues. You may also develop urinary tract infections, respiratory infections, pneumonia, and other illnesses.
Moving around on your floor and then innocently rubbing your face could easily transmit bacteria to the mucous membranes around your eyes or nose. You may be even more susceptible to infection if you have cuts on your hands and feet, especially if you walk barefoot throughout your home.
While the average healthy adult is not as likely to become ill from exposure to bacteria on the floor, those with compromised immune systems face a higher risk. Small children are also at risk, as they are far more likely to crawl on the floor and put bacteria-laden items directly into their mouths.
How to Reduce the Risks
Reducing your exposure to bacteria from shoes is relatively simple. All you need to do is create a shoe-free policy for your home. You don’t have to go barefoot to make this work, either. ask your family members to use one main entrance and immediately remove their shoes by the door. They can then switch to a pair of slippers or indoor-only shoes to protect their feet and keep warm.
You’ll have to decide on whether or not you will ask family members and friends to adhere to your policy. Those who visit you on a regular basis may follow suit. Those who visit infrequently may not be comfortable taking off their shoes; and some (especially elderly family members) may be more stable with shoes on. This may mean making an exception to your rule and simply planning to vacuum after a visit or a party with large groups of people.
Having a no-shoe policy in your home will not only reduce bacteria, but may just help you to ease up on your cleaning schedule a little bit. Maybe your kids will stop losing their shoes, too!