This Is the Worst Thing You Do Every Time You Walk into Your House
Making this one common mistake could put you at risk of bringing COVID-19 into your home.
There's a lot of anxiety about leaving our houses right now. Before you step out your door, you must remember to wear your mask, put on gloves, and grab hand sanitizer. But what about when you return home? Though you may feel like you're covering all your bases by washing your hands and wiping down the groceries, there is one huge mistake you're probably still making: wearing your shoes indoors. Shoes are dirty by nature and tend to track grime wherever you go. And these days, your kicks could pose an even more serious threat by carrying the coronavirus into your home.
A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) looked at the aerosol and surface distribution of the coronavirus in hospitals in Wuhan, China. The researchers found that it was "widely distributed" on floors as medical staff walk around the wards. They concluded that this is because virus droplets can fall downward, landing on the ground, where they could then be tracked around on the soles of the staff's shoes. Of course, the virus is more prominent in hospitals, but this same phenomenon could occur at your local grocery store or while taking your daily stroll.
Anthony Weinert, DPM, head of Shoe Pantry, is so concerned about the possibility of transporting coronavirus via shoes that he has donated thousands of Crocs—which are easy to disinfect—to medical staff in Michigan. "We talk about masks, face shields, gloves, gowns, and eyewear [for protection], but neglect one important thing—the shoes worn by our healthcare workers on the frontlines," says Weinert. He worries that many doctors and nurses "wear tennis shoes, which can allow the coronavirus to attach onto the surface of the shoe and be transported home."
Everyone should be cognizant of what germs may be lurking on their shoes, even those in the general community. Weinert stresses the importance of cleaning your shoes with disinfecting wipes or spray before going inside your home, so you don't accidentally contaminate your hands while you untie your laces. This will also prevent the virus from spreading to other surfaces in your house. An easier alternative is to wear slip-on shoes and simply leave them outside the door.
While person-to-person transmission is still the most viable way for the coronavirus to spread, it's better to be safe than sorry during the pandemic. And to learn about another risky mistake you could be making, check out This One Item You Touch Every Day Puts You Most at Risk of Coronavirus.