The pandemic has made people more aware of the invisible dangers that they encounter every single day. Since COVID-19 started spreading around the world, the public has been more concerned about hygiene and cleanliness.
Living in the New Normal
In a survey conducted in 2020, about 77 percent of respondents admitted that they were scared of the illness. About 55 percent of them admitted that they changed their hygiene behaviours because of it.
Experts on public health have highlighted the necessity of proper handwashing and the use of hand sanitisers when out in public. They also advise the public to regularly disinfect common traffic surfaces to kill disease-causing germs.
The pandemic has created a greater demand for cleaning products. In 2020, Procter & Gamble, the maker of Tide and Dawn, reported its biggest increase in global sales in 15 years. The company saw the strongest boost in mops and dish soaps.
COVID-19 has changed the way people view hygiene and cleanliness, but there is one habit that people should adopt to prevent bringing disease-causing germs at home.
The Germs on Your Shoes
Asian cultures have been known to traditionally remove shoes before entering a home as a sign of respect and cleanliness. It is most common in countries where people eat and sleep on the floor. In Japan, the entryway of a home is known as the “genkan” — the space that separates from the inside and outside as well as the clean and unclean. Guests are expected to remove their shoes before taking a step into the home, both as a sign of respect and out of the desire to keep the house clean.
More people around the world should be taking off their shoes before entering a home. One previous study made a grim discovery about the microbial community that has established its presence in your footwear.
The study conducted by researchers from the University of Arizona found that shoes worn for three months had an average of 421,000 units of bacteria. Escherichia coli (E. coli), which can cause severe diarrhoea or meningitis, is present in 96 percent of shoe soles.
Wherever you, you are picking up germs and, with every step, you are spreading them. In theory, when you come home and do not leave your shoes by the door, you are bringing in tons of potentially disease-causing germs.
More recently, the World Health Organization advised medical professionals to cover their shoes or disinfect the soles of their shoes after caring for patients. The decision was made after research conducted at intensive care units in hospitals in Wuhan, China, found the presence of SARS-CoV-2 on the shoes of half of the healthcare workers. So, to prevent them from becoming carriers, they have to be extra wary of their shoes before stepping out of the hospital.
The germs that potentially are being spread by your shoes at home are not that big of a threat if you do not spend much time on the floor. However, if you have a baby at home, then it becomes a health risk.
Shoes can also carry pollen and other allergens indoors. One whiff can trigger respiratory symptoms, even if the doors and windows are tightly shut.
Because of the pandemic, many people now have what they call a sanitation station at home. Within that space, hand sanitisers and cleaning products are accessible. It ensures that, before a person enters the house, they are not carrying germs indoors.
Your home’s sanitation station should have a spot where residents and guests can remove their shoes. A mat that can easily be cleaned should be placed near the door for footwear. Doormat.net.au, which is proudly made in Australia, offers a selection of useful and sustainable mats. They also support a great cause.
Mats already catch dirt and debris that might have attached themselves to the soles of footwear. However, it is still a good idea to leave your shoes by the mat before entering your home.
Moreover, create a system that can help remind family members to wear their face masks whenever they leave. Place a set of hooks where you can hang clean masks. Meanwhile, have a small basket by the door where you and your family can toss dirty masks as soon as you come home.
COVID-19 spreads very easily, and it can lead to serious illness whether you are healthy and especially if you are immunocompromised. The fear of it has naturally led to the population changing their hygiene and cleaning habits. Hopefully, removing shoes by the door will become one of the changes that will persist after the pandemic.