They come in all different colors, styles, and sizes. They’re a part of our daily uniform during the summertime (Editor’s Note: And if you’re me, they stay in rotation until the snow begins to fall); we wear them to the beach, to work, or when we’re just hangin’ out in the house. Some people may hate on flip flops, but they are truly god’s gift to mankind (after Channing Tatum and Coldstone Creamery, of course).
A gift that can kill us all, according to a new study by TODAY.
Seriously, after reading this you might wanna think twice before flippy flopping around town.
After testing some footwear, health scientists discovered that there were more than – are you ready for this – 18,000 bacteria on just one pair of flip-flops. Did you just look at your feet in disgust? Yeah, me too. But what is even more disturbing than the number of bacteria on your favorite footwear is the type of bacteria that consumes them. We’re talkin’ bacteria from fecal matter (that’s poo, ladies!), skin and respiratory germs, even bacteria that causes yeast infections and diaper rash. Oh, and the scariest? The potentially lethal germ, Staphylocaccus aurerus (AKA staph infection).
Dr. Philip M Tierno, director or NYU’s Langone Medical Center, said that these bacteria “can give you a serious infection like a boil, or more serious, it could possess toxins. They can make you very sick or kill you.”
Whoa, whoa, whoa; slow down there, Dr. Tierno. Does this mean I should fear my Havaianas more than I fear those creepy flasher guys that hide in parks when I go running?
Well yes and no. The dirty grounds that we walk on (think about it: city streets, public bathrooms, etc.) contain a whole lotta nasty-I-don’t-even-wanna-knows on them, and since our feet are completely exposed when wearing flip flops, our skin is obviously coming in contact with ‘em. And sometimes those germs are lethal. So, what do we do about this?
Instead of ruining a cute summer dress with a not-so-cute pair of sneakers, just be wary and protect yourself:
- Avoid touching your flip-flops and your unwashed feet
- Wash your hands often
- Remove your shoes when you are in your home.
- Limit your use of flip-flops if you can. I know it’s devastating, but try and save them for the beach and the pool, and wear more protective sandals for your daily wear.
- Toss those flips after a year. Yes, even those Rainbows.
Considering that flip-flops aren’t the best for walking anyway (they give you zero support and can injure your feet and calves) this new bacteria news might not be something to ignore. Hey, if nothing else, it’s a good excuse to go shoe shopping, right?