The next time you’re waiting in line to go through airport security, take a look around at how many people kick off their sandals or walk in stocking feet up to the scanners. Imagine how many sweaty feet touch the floor surface in just one day — hundreds, if not thousands! Most people don’t even think twice about this practice because “it’s the law” to remove one’s shoes before boarding a plane. However, you can still be prepared by avoiding walking barefoot and wearing socks instead. Doctor Marybeth Crane explains why walking barefoot or in stockings through security is a filthy (and dangerous) habit.
Warts are spread by a virus. According to the Colorado Foot Institute, this virus can live in carpeting or on a hard surface for many months. The incubation period for warts is anywhere from one to 20 months, which makes it difficult to ascertain when you came into contact with the virus. Sufferers report the feeling of a plantar wart to be “like walking with a pebble stuck in your shoe.” It can take many months to remove a wart. The first course of action is to apply salicylic acid to kill the tissue.
According to Dr. Crane’s post, herpes can get passed from foot to foot. The National Athletic Trainers Association reports that “walking barefoot can spread the virus” and that it’s best to “wear flip-flops in public showers, swimming pools and other communal areas.” You definitely don’t want the crusty, red, oozing blisters to rear their ugly heads!
Athlete’s foot is a red, itching, burning rash between the toes and on the soles of the feet. Dr. Rami Calis [pronounced cah-LEASE], DPM, a podiatry instructor at Atlanta’s Emory University, told WebMD that he feels airport security is unsanitary. “Athlete’s foot infections must be rampant,” he says. “The floor is often dirty where all those people walk through security. And it doesn’t get any sun.”
Staph Bacteria Infections
According to ABC News 4, restrooms at the local airport tested positive for staphylococcus aureus. “It can cause some diseases. It can cause acne, boils, certain skin diseases, toxic shock syndrome, pneumonia,” said biologist Tonya Morris. It’s estimated that 25 to 30% of healthy adults are carrying staph bacteria in their noses. Staph is considered a skin condition, though; so it takes a break in the skin for infection to get into the bloodstream and travel to internal organs, where this infection can really wreak havoc.
Like other foot infections, one would need to have a cut or break in the skin to become infected by the microbes. However, the entry point is not always so obvious. Even a tiny blister, callus, slightly ingrown toenail, or improperly cut cuticle can invite disaster. Toenail fungus — evidenced by crusty, crumbling, thickened and yellow nails — is very persistent and difficult to treat. Patients usually take oral medications for months, which requires periodic liver function tests, and even so — they still have to wait for the old fungus nail to grow out before they notice improvement.
The Bottom Line: Walking Barefoot Is An Unnecessary Risk!
Walking barefoot through wet grass can damage the skin’s natural barrier, allowing infections to take hold, Dr. Giuseppe Militello of Columbia University told The New York Times. “[Bacteria] resides in the grass and earth, you pick it up, and it festers in your shoes,” he explains. “I think the best thing to do is to wear sandals or flip-flops or to just not get your feet wet. And when you do get your feet wet, thoroughly dry them before putting your shoes back on.” We also recommend sanitizing your shoes each night with the SteriShoe UV light shoe sanitizer, which uses the same technology hospitals employ to disinfect contaminated surfaces.