As a freshman, one of the first pieces of advice given to us by older students or older siblings, is to “make sure you wear flip-flops in the bathroom!” I am sure that by now the majority of us know the feeling of our lives flashing before our eyes if we found ourselves absentmindely slipping our feet out of our shoes whilst in the shower. Are we right to fear the unknown that lurks in the place we all know and probably don’t love that is the dorm communal showers?
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that usually begins between the toes.” I can’t really think of very many people who want an infection in between their toes. The fungus in this infection, like many other funguses, tends to lurk in “warm and damp places” (Brichford). These conditions make communal showers in dorms, gyms, or pools the perfect places for this bacteria to inhabit.
We might think we’re being cautious by wearing flip-flops or sandals into the shower, but are they really as clean as we think? According to a study done by the University of Arizona, bacteria on shoes often lives longer on shoes than on other places (Leamy & Weber). Those germs will lurk on the bottom of your shoes and off of your feet for some time, but they still have the ability to make their way up to the top of the shoe where your foot lies.
So yes, the verdict itself is that wearing flip-flops, or some form of shower shoes will help to prevent you from getting any king of fungal infections such as Athlete’s Foot, but it is not foolproof. These kinds of ailments are not typically going to kill you, but to save yourself any amount of pain, definitely use flip-flops when in any form of communal shower. Remember to change your flip-flops or shower shoes every so often, and you should be on your way to preventing any damage to your precious feet!
“Athlete’s Foot.” Causes. Mayo Clinic, n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2014.
Brichford, Connie. “Protect Your Foot Health at College.”EverydayHealth.com. Ed. Lindsey Marcellin. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2014.
Leamy, Elisabeth, and Vanessa Weber. “How Dirty Are Your Shoes?” ABC News. ABC News Network, 16 June 2008. Web. 13 Sept. 2014.