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This is why you should avoid wearing shoes around the house

Netdoctor (UK) logo Netdoctor (UK) 24/04/2017 Jenny Cook

Wearing shoes inside the house could harm your health, study shows © JW LTD / Getty Wearing shoes inside the house could harm your health, study shows Do you ask people to remove their shoes before coming into your home? Well, you might be onto something. A new US study shows that wearing shoes around the house carries the risk of transferring a menagerie of microorganisms and dangerous bacteria, which can potentially harm your health.

A health hazard?

Over the course of two years, the research team tested more than 2,500 samples for a specific bacterium, Clostridium difficile (also known as C. diff), which is known to infect the bowel and cause diarrhoea and can even prove fatal. Among the samples collected from homes, 26.4% of shoe soles tested positive for C. diff – roughly three times the number found on bathroom and kitchen surfaces.

Kevin W. Garey, chairman of the department of pharmacy practice and translational research at the University of Houston, said:  "It's amazing how far humans travel during the day, and all that walking drags in germs and bugs."

He added: "Shoe soles are a vector for infectious pathogens."

Indeed, such a statement is further backed up by previous research. In 2015, an Austrian study found at least 40% of shoes to carry Listeria monocytogenes (the pathogenic bacteria responsible for listeriosis, the sickness bug which, in severe cases, can lead to meningitis) whilst a similar piece of German research concluded that over a quarter of farm boots carried the infamous E.coli.

Good practice

If you think a vigorous feet-wiping habit will exempt you from bacterial risks, think again. No doormat is good enough to rid your shoes of pathogens say Jonathan Sexton, a laboratory manager at the Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona.

"Essentially, when you wear your shoes in a house, you are bringing in everything you stepped in during the day."

He adds: "[Wiping your feet] will remove some of the dirt, but you have to think of the person who wiped their feet before. You might be picking stuff they left behind."

While Dr. Sexton reassures us that wearing shoes in the house is "not something to freak out about," he insists that bare or socked feet are a preferable alternative, seeing as the inside of a shoe has far less bacteria than the outside - even if they don't always smell that way!

Watch: Smart Insoles Can Pinpoint What Will Make You Run Faster (by WOchit News)

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