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Deadly Bacteria Found on Flip-Flops

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How dirty are your kids' shoes?

child wearing sandals

Julie Wolfson: Every since I read Jen Carlson's story on Gothamist, "Flip Flop Your Way to an Early Grave" that alerted me to the NY Daily News story, "Flip-Flops Are a Magnet for Dangerous, Deadly Bacteria," I have been trying to block it out of my mind. As a mom, I try so hard to do everything I can to keep my kids healthy without become a paranoid germ-phobe.

As I read these articles, I looked down to discover that I was wearing flip-flops. I thought of the times I ask my children to put on their flip-flops so I could take them to the bathroom at the beach. Should I make them wear boots when they have a cut on their foot? And what about our shoes? What are we tracking into the house?

In the NY Daily News article, two reporters wore flip-flops around New York City for four days. Tests of their footwear revealed potentially deadly germ -- Staphylococcus aureus. The Daily News asked Dr. Philip M. Tiemo Jr., the director of clinical microbiology and immunology at New York University's Langone Medical Center, about their findings. "There's more bacteria in the city," he says. "There's garbage and rat-doo. This city is strewn with rats, and rats are harbingers of all sorts of germs. The same is true with cockroaches. It is all potentially harmful."


So what about my city and the places I take my kids? Now that the images of bacteria monsters eating my kids' feet are swimming in my head, I am having a very hard time enjoying looking at my kids' cute little toes. The question is: What will I say the next time I hear, "Mommy, I want to wear my flip-flops"?

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2 comments so far | Post a comment now
Sharon McEachern August 18, 2009, 8:43 PM

The simple answer is SOAP AND WATER — it will kill 95 percent of the germs. Wash the flip-flops in soap and water and wash your hands (and your kids’ hands)after putting on and taking off the flip-flops.

What’s really frightening is the fact that the MRSA infections, mostly acquired in hospitals and resistant to antibiotics, are being spread by doctors. Physicians do not wash their hands. The chances are only 50-50 that the doctor treating you in the hospital, even when performing your surgery, has washed her/his hands, according to the National Quality Forum. And now with swine flu season coming, it’s even more important that everyone wash their hands. Ethic Soup blog as a great article on this exact problem at:

Rachel August 19, 2009, 8:35 AM

Newsflash…S.aureus is everywhere, and is likely in your home (even if you’re a great cleaner). The kitchen, the bathroom, etc. Wash your hands.

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