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As you might already be aware, the coronavirus can live on different types of surfaces for several days. For example, the National Institute of Health showed that the virus can live on cardboard for 24 hours and for two to three days on stainless steel and plastic.
But now there is a new concern: shoes.
Infectious disease specialist Mary E. Schmidt warns that coronavirus can live on the surface of shoes for up to five days.
When it comes to shoes, the materials most commonly found in soles would be rubber, leather, and PVC-based materials.
A 2008 University of Arizona study found that soles on shoes can contain over 421,000 bacteria, viruses and parasites (many of which can be beneficial to our health). So it’s never been a secret that shoes could harbor all sorts of living micro organisms.
Since shoes don’t typically come into contact with our faces, there is probably a low risk of transmitting the disease in a lot of cases.
Mary E. Schmidt states “[t]here is no evidence to say that the coronavirus comes into the house from shoes […] “Pragmatically, they are on the body part furthest from our face, and we do know that the greatest risk of transmission is person to person, not shoe to person.”
With that said, I do think there are a couple of types of people who could potentially be at risk if their shoes were housing viruses.
The first is travelers.
When packing and unpacking your shoes, it’s very possible that your shoe soles could come in contact with your hands and or other clothing items or materials.
I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say that you could create an entire little ecosystem housing harmful viruses in your luggage after tracking them in from your shoes.
And often times when packing you come into contact with other things that might come into close contact with your face like toothbrushes, lotions, etc.
So I think it would be a good idea to use hand sanitizer more often when packing and unpacking your belongings to try to keep any virus particles off of your hands. And then focus on not touching your face when dealing with your luggage.
Also, if you have kids and they are coming in to contact with their shoes a lot — perhaps even putting them in their mouth or doing other things like that — that could be a potential way to transmit disease.
UponArriving has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. UponArriving and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.