Friday, August 21, 2009

Please Leave Your Shoes At The Door

Last week there was a news article from the New York Daily News floating around the Internet warning of the germ dangers of wearing flip-flops and soon other news outlets picked up the story.

Apparently, after four days of walking through NYC, reporters tested their flip flops and found them riddled with all kinds of nasties that can make even the healthiest person flinch and a germophobe go into shock.

The point of the article, though it wasn't truly clear, was to point out that those same germs can be on your feet if you wear flip-flops since there's virtually no protection between your skin and the shoe--easier for bacteria to do its worst.

But I think the true result of the article was overlooked. And it's something my family has known for years. The bottoms of shoes --all shoes, not just flip flops--are yucky. Which is why we never, ever, wear shoes in the house (unless they're fresh out of the box).

Our shoes are left in the garage. When family come over, their shoes are in the garage. Where this rule gets tricky is with friends. The kids' friends are all okay with it, but it's hard to ask your grown friends to leave their shoes by the door. I still haven't mastered how to do this, and I try not to cringe whenever this rule is bent in favor of etiquette.

I mean, really. Look at what the expert quoted for the NYDN article said: "If you wear shoes for three months, 93 percent have fecal bacteria and 20 percent have E. coli," the News quotes Dr. Charles P. Gerba, professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona, as saying.

Any shoe will have those germs on the soles. Yes, with traditional shoes your skin isn't as easily exposed to the bacteria, but the shoes are still infested with everything from staph to e-coli (just think about where you walk on any given day!). Now imagine that being dragged across the kitchen floors, the carpets, put up on the couch.

No thank you. And I do hope you'll understand that if you're a guest here, you'll be asked (if I can find a polite way to do it) to leave your shoes by the door!

How about you? Do you wear shoes in the house? And will you continue to after reading that article?

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