Doctors have warned Americans against keeping their shoes on inside the house, due to the serious health risks.
Footwear worn outside can pick up harmful bacteria such as e-coli – which can can lead to life-threatening kidney failure.
You might also trudge in fecal matter from public bathrooms, explained Dr Kunal Sood, a pain management specialist working in Maryland.
It’s estimated that about 265,000 e-coli infections occur every year in the US – and about 10 people die from related illnesses.
Dr Sood adds that shoes can also harbor pesticides – which have been linked to some types of cancers and birth defects in children.
His warnings are partly based on the results of a study by researchers from the Univrsity of Arizona, which found 96 per cent of shoes tested picked up more bacteria than hands and floors.
‘These included harmful bacteria such as E-coli which can cause both stomach and urinary tract infections,’ said Dr Sood in a video posted to his TikTok channel.
In addition to bacteria, shoes can also transmit hormone disrupting chemicals such as pesticides and even fecal matter from restrooms.’
Human fecal material contains hundreds of bacteria, viruses, and parasites, including Salmonella and Campylobacter – which can be fatal.
Leave shoes by the entrance to the house and ideally outside, say experts
‘The best way to prevent this is to not wear shoes inside, of course, but if someone does, make sure you clean your floors.’
Dr Sood’s advice echos that of enviornmental scientists.
Writing for CBS news in May, experts from Macquarie University and Indiana University Environmental Resilience Institute, concluded that taking the shoes off at the door is an ‘easy prevention activity’ for avoiding nasty infections.