Sometimes it might create an awkward feeling when people ask us to take our shoes off when we enter their home. The fact, supported by scientists, is that they have all the right to do so. House slippers weren’t invented without a reason: street shoes can bring things into your home that you would never want to encounter in any living space.
University researchers have revealed the fact that street shoes may harbor bacteria that, if they attack the body, are very difficult to deal with. Some of these bacteria don’t even require a moist environment to survive for a long time.
Bacteria called Clostridium difficile are one of the biggest risks for our health. This pathogen is resistant to most antibiotics, so drug treatment is ineffective. C. diff. attacks the intestines, and is the main cause for pseudomembranous colitis.
What else can be found on shoe soles?
C. diff. isn’t the only pathogen we can carry on our shoes into our home. Just think of the immense amount of street dirt, bird excrements, degrading plant residues and so on that are also full of pathogens. Bacteria on shoe soles can survive or even reproduce for days or even weeks. Research has shown that a single shoe may harbor no less than 421,000 pathogenic breeds belonging to 9 different species. These can cause infections in the lungs, the eyes, the stomach and the intestines. Two of these bacteria are very common.
Most of the bacteria in this group are fortunately harmless, but some types may cause serious intestinal problems, diarrhea and vomiting.
This pathogen damages the lungs and causes pneumonia. It is largely resistant to antibiotics and is therefore very difficult to treat. In case of patients infected with this pathogen the mortality rate is as high as 50%, rising to practically 100% in patients who are addicted to alcohol.
What can we do?
Buy some nice, fuzzy home slippers for every member of the family and make sure to wear them! Street shoes should be never, under any circumstances, worn inside a house. If you take them off when you arrive home and keep the floor clean, you can keep your home a healthy place.