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Experts believe that walking on the street in your flip flops is like walking on a mine-field of germs. You could be walking on vomitus, human or animal waste, sputum, thrown food items and beverages, and things beyond your imagination.

Walking on the Streets in Your Flip- Flops is like Walking on a Mine-field of Germs

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Come summers and out come the sandals and flip flops with their cute and fancy designs. Besides being oh so comfortable, they also make a fashion statement. However, have you ever wondered whether they are safe for your health? Experts feel that walking on the street in your flip flops is like walking on a mine-field of germs. You could be walking on vomitus, human or animal waste, sputum, thrown food items and beverages, and things beyond your imagination. And in the warmth provided with sun, these things become an ideal breeding ground for pathogens of all kinds.

If you have any cuts or abrasions on your feet, these pathogens get an easy access to your body. Even if you do not have any such cuts on the skin of your feet, the moment you touch your flip flops to take them off, you are inadvertently transferring innumerable bacteria to your hands. 

According to Dr. Philip Tiemo, Ph.D., director of clinical microbiology and immunology at New York University Langone Medical Center and author of "Secret Life of Germs”, direct or indirect touching is responsible for almost 80% of all infectious diseases. You touch your dirty shoes, and then touch your eyes, mouth or nose with the same dirty hands. And before you know it, multiple bacteria have invaded your system and you are down with an illness.

Taking Simple Precautions can Help in Preventing Infectious Diseases

The pathogens that you can contract from the streets include norovirus, staph aureus, types of strep, E. coli and drug-resistant superbugs like Pseudomonas, Klebsiella pneumonia and MRSA. The warmth provided by the summer sun helps in their rapid multiplication and growth. You can be an easy prey for them in case you handle your flip flops casually. However, taking some simple precautions can prevent many infectious diseases.

Remember that your skin is your first line of defense. It is built in a way to protect you from getting infections. Human skin is covered with a layer of dead skin cells. This layer is called as “stratum corneum.” According to Jeannette Graf, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan, stratum corneum is thickest on the hands and feet. This makes it difficult for the pathogens to penetrate the skin. Secondly, our skin produces antimicrobial peptides, which protects it from the invasion of many different types of microbes.

Besides these natural defenses, we can take certain steps to prevent infection

  • Wash your feet thoroughly after you get home.
  • Also clean your hands with soap and water after touching your sandals.
  • Take care to remove your sandals as soon as you reach home. Do not move about in the same pair of slippers inside your house to keep it germ free.
  • Recharge your skin’s protective barriers by following a regular exfoliation and moisturization routine.
  • Use skin-smoothing lactic or salicylic acid or urea before bed each night to prevent cuts and abrasions on your feet.
  • In case, you have to change into heels when you reach office, carry your shoes in a shoe bag and after swapping them, clean your hands thoroughly. Following these simple steps can go a long way in protect you from unwanted infections.

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