Don’t Let Your Shoe Sole Stamp Out Your Good Health5 years ago | Proactive Health
By Pauline J. Jose, MD
I grew up in an Asian household, which meant I was asked to remove my footwear prior to entering the house. Chances are you have been asked to do the same, since many people in North America prefer to wear house slippers or go barefoot in their homes. Whether it is for cleanliness or for various cultural traditions, it may also be for the best. We all know that shoe soles are dirty, but what you may not know is that they actually carry bacteria that can make you ill.
Shoe soles are one of the surprising sources of infections in the operating room brought in by physicians, according to a review evaluating multiple studies done both in the U.S. and Europe in the healthcare setting and the community. Physicians’ shoe soles carried Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Enterococcus faecalis, both known to cause skin, respiratory and other infections. Studies done in the community showed shoe soles were contaminated with Clostridium difficile, which causes intestinal infections, as well as Listeria monocytogenes, which can cause respiratory and intestinal infections and even sepsis.
Contamination rates did not differ much on the type of shoes, but shoes with deeper treads had more bacteria. Other pathogens found in shoe soles were Salmonella and E. coli, which can cause intestinal and urinary infections. These studies also revealed that decontamination of shoe soles using chemical disinfectants, shoe covers, overshoes, floor mats and contamination floor coverings did not significantly reduce bacterial load.
Unfortunately, these bacteria may not be limited to the shoe soles of physicians. So, it may not be such a bad idea then to leave your dirty shoes outside, especially if you have babies and toddlers playing on the floor. Another way to prevent these potentially disease causing pathogens that can contaminate your household is to frequently vacuum and clean your floor.
You can also be proactive against infections by making sure you’re getting essential nutrients, which can boost your immunity.
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