Do you live in one of the millions of households where nobody takes their shoes off to go inside? Well, experts have a warning for you and your family, and it’s probably something you should know.
Some experts believe that wearing shoes inside of your home isn’t a good idea at all, considering the disgusting things we walk through daily, such as going into public restrooms. That’s only one of many places where deadly bacteria can be picked up, then brought back into your home.
The Clark Howard Show, a nationally syndicated talk radio program, recently shared a study to its website warning people to take their shoes off before going into their home. Apparently, in our daily travels, we pick up hundreds of thousands of different bacteria, including E. coli among other nasty things.
A study done by the University of Arizona found an average of 421,000 different bacteria on shoes. Coliforms, a bacterial indicator of the level of sanitation of foods and water (and universally present in feces), were detected on the bottoms of 96% of shoes.
“We walk through things like bird droppings, dog waste and germs on public restroom floors, all of which are sources for E coli,” says microbiologist Kelly Reynolds, Ph. D.
Although our shoes are apparently full of nastiness, there’s a much larger source of bacteria in our homes that nobody ever thinks about – our bodies. According to Winkler G. Weinberg, chief of infectious diseases at Kaiser Permanente in Atlanta, Georgia, our bodies contain more germs than they do actual cells, so he dismisses the concern for whatever our shoes may track into our homes.
“Your body has more microbial cells than human cells,” he says. “You’re more germ than you are you. I really don’t think there’s any value to these studies where people culture to see how many bacteria there are in any given location. It’s not predictive of human health or transmission of infection.”
He does have a point. We’re surrounded by germs everywhere we go, and there’s actually studies out there which show that if we try to remove too much of them, it has a negative effect on our immune systems because we don’t build up the antibodies we need.
“The Hygiene Hypothesis is all about killing the good bugs that we need to stimulate our immune systems in our body and provide competition with the bad bugs,” says Professor Michael Osterholm of the University of Minnesota.
“Dousing everything we touch with antibacterial soaps and taking antibiotic medications at the first sign of a cold can upset the natural balance of microorganisms in and around us, leaving behind only the ‘superbugs,’” Tufts University microbiologist Dr. Stuart Levy says.
Although taking off your shoes may in fact help reduce the amount of bacteria in your home, perhaps it’s not the best idea after all. Then again, it is always better to err on the side of caution, right?
[H/T: Lift Bump]