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Do feet need to be washed/sanitized the way hands do?

Ok, so I've been dealing with an ongoing argument here at home, When stepping outside (sandals or shoes) and then coming back indoors, do feet need to be washed/sanitized the way hands do? Is there any evidence the virus survives in open areas like an apartment building?
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Avatar universal
I am not sure where to ask my question so sorry to do it here. I was wondering the same thing, my husband works in other peoples homes all the time and I am terrified he is going to bring covid into our yard or home on his shoes or clothes. Do you think it can survive outside in the sun in our yard?
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2 Comments
I attempted an answer of your original post, and the answer is no, it won't survive in your yard, your yard doesn't breathe and isn't human.  But as I said, if he comes into contact with someone who has it, and isn't wearing a mask or social distancing, then he can bring it home and give it to you by breathing on you.  You can do the same to him.  Best protection is to be fully vaccinated and wear a mask and social distance if you're in a situation where you'll be in close proximity with others, especially indoors -- he's very unlikely to get it or give it to someone else outdoors.
And it's no longer a recommendation to sanitize any part of your body.  Soap and water is fine.  Because it hasn't really been found to spread that way.
973741 tn?1342342773
I'm just going to say no.  They've now proven that covid 19 mostly passes person to person through air droplets we breathe in.  I do still hand sanitize and hand wash but the fear of hands is that they touch our face, nose, eyes and mouth. NONE of which I touch with my foot.  I think it would be highly unlikely to bring in covid on your foot (and are we talking bare feet here?  Like why is covid on the street or grass?  this seems illogical to me) into your home, then have that transfer to your face/mouth/eyes or nose.  There was once thought that surface contamination was more of a risk and I went through a phase of wiping down my groceries, for example, when I had them delivered. This has been debunked.  So, I think we have to keep some perspective here.  
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7 Comments
Yes, in fact, the virus is present in urine and feces.  It's present in water we washed our hands in if we were somewhere where covid had been.  We know this because this is one of the main ways the presence of covid in a community is determined, by checking waste water from sewers.  If there's a lot of covid in it, then there's a lot in the community.  It's a way of overcoming the lack of systematic testing.  But that's a different thing from getting sick from these things.  As Mom states above, covid is a respiratory virus you get by breathing it in deeply enough for it to establish itself.  There is very little risk if any from surfaces or other places because there's not enough active virus for you to breathe in deeply enough to get infected.  But yeah, it is in fact present in those places and it provided a very good way in very bad societal circumstances to track the spread of the virus.  
YSI
ps about fungal toenails-Vicks Vapor Rub (toxic stuff) applied LIBERALLY in every crevice of your toenail-down deep into the cuticles , coating the nail surfaces, and pressured underneath the nailheads, every night to your freshly washed feet which are then covered with clean cotton socks while in bed. Obviously wash off during your morning shower. The more severe your infection the longer you should keep following this routine. It work's!
YSI
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32836117/
YSI, interesting.  It does 'smell' like it would have some kind of effect on things like this but never would have thought to try Vicks on my toes!  May give that a whirl.
Not saying it didn't work for someone, but there's no anti-fungal ingredients in the product.  So wondering exactly why it would work.  There is science involved in this stuff, and Vick's isn't actually all that toxic.  The worst ingredient is a petroleum product that would block pores, but it isn't a main ingredient.  Mainly it's a plant derivative that's made up of hot plant substances that create heat for clearing the chest and that might also have a bit of a short duration insect repellent effect.  There is some antibiotic effect in what's in it, but not enough for toe fungus.  So unless they're not disclosing something really toxic to fungus in it, again, there's nothing in it that has those properties.  So very interesting and if it does in fact work, there's some antifungals in the plant world we didn't know about even though they are extremely common.  
YSI
From their website the active ingredients are camphor, eucalyptus oil, and menthol. The inactive ingredients include cedarleaf oil, nutmeg oil, petrolatum, thymol and turpentine oil.

Toxic, imo. I ended up with a breast biopsy because of severe pain and lumps after inadvertently wiping it off on my thigh and chest.  

I do not believe it is a coincidence they no longer show commercials of parents rubbing it on their kids bare chests-Vicks is now selling an adhesive 'patch' to be applied on top of the pajamas...

I would still use it on a toenail, only.
I'm not saying I know, because I can't know, but I don't see anything in this that would lead you to need a biopsy.  It is intended to be used on the chest, and has been for ages, and the plant extracts used have been for ages.  Now, there are again some toxic things in it, and they are in the inactive ingredients list.  Cedar can be toxic, and repels moths.  While people have been putting turpentine on themselves for a long time, I wouldn't.  Petrolatum is a petroleum product.  I have no idea how much of those things are in it, but in reality, when you need a biopsy it's because they are looking for cancer and that takes a very long time for most people to get.  I don't see how wiping a product people have been applying to clear their chests for ages did that from one wipe.  Cancer doesn't work that way.  I wouldn't endorse the product for anything, I wouldn't use it, but we also have to be fair and realize what biopsies are looking for and how we get those things.  I hope the problem cleared up.  Peace.
Avatar universal
YSI
Good question. It also made me wonder if the virus is present in covid-infected people's urine or feces output? (at any point along the timeline...)

Remember all the talk/studies about those hand air-dryers in public restrooms spreading germs/bacteria? When I am in sandals and use those dryers, which are always aimed at the ground, I definitely 'feel the breeze' on my feet. Those dryers move the air at jet-propelled speed/strength.
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Avatar universal
If that were really the case it would make sense to throw your clothes in the washer and take a shower after every outside excursion
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Answering both you and Annie, doctors and nurses who work with covid patients do take their clothes off and wash them and take a shower before getting near their families.  I don't think that turned out to be necessary, as getting covid from surfaces isn't much of a risk, but again, that is exactly what docs and nurses are doing.  But for the rest of us, there's a point where fear of covid is worse than getting covid.  I do believe, and I believe a lot of different cultures practice this, that feet should be regularly cleaned, especially if one goes barefoot a lot as I did growing up.  But we still have to say to the poster, you weren't exposing your feet because you were wearing shoes, and you weren't anywhere near covid as far as you know and covid doesn't spread that way.  But I did want to say that those who did deal closest with covid patients did do what you're mentioning as a precaution.
134578 tn?1642048000
If the topic of foot hygiene has reached a level that it is actually causing a running argument in your house, I might also add that though the Covid argument doesn't hold water, it isn't unreasonable for one partner to expect the other to have clean feet. The Covid virus won't be tracked in or have fallen on the feet, that's not supported by science. But if someone is tired of looking at someone else's ragged toenails, dirty soles and raspy calluses, well, actually there's nothing unfair about asking a loved one to take care of their craggy feet. Feet should be as well groomed as hands.
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5 Comments
Well la dee dah.  Glad my wife doesn't agree.  I have a toenail fungus from playing a lot of basketball when I was young, and there ain't nothing that's worth the pain of what they do to fix that just to make my toenails look good.  They don't hurt, and I loved playing basketball, so again, if craggy feet is enough to drive you away the person you were with wasn't all that for you in the first place.  Just sayin'.
On the other hand, I do take 3 showers a day thanks to the permanent side effects of having taken antidepressants for a long time, so I'm the cleanest guy you'll ever know!
I was saying that the argument should stay with what is bothering the person picking the fight. Maybe it is genuine Covid paranoia talking (but why only the feet? Why not insist they take off their clothes in the entry hall and put them in a plastic bag and immediately take a shower?) In which case, the couple should discuss Covid paranoia and what is true and what is false. Or, if the Covid was merely a pretext because nothing else has worked to get someone to wash their tootsies regularly, the couple should talk about that, at least to the point where they come to an understanding (that the one will or won't wash their feet) and can stop arguing.

Anniebrooke, there are feet people.   They notice feet more than others and are turned on or off by them more than others.  I like a good looking foot myself but married my husband anyway . . .  I do not like to think about the things we have on our shoes being dragged through the house though. I request my kids and husband remove their shoes at the door. They each have places on the first floor to put their shoes as they come in. Kids are more compliant than husband.  But mud, dog do, street gunk can all be on shoes which I find gross even if it doesn't make me sick.  I'm definitely not worried about covid from feet but still don't like someone's old gum stuck to my foyer floor when it came off of someone's shoe.
Oh, for sure there are feet people, all the way from people who take off their outdoor shoes at the door (we do that at our house, too) to people who get professional pedicures and the like. I was not puzzled by that. I was just reacting to the original poster saying they were having "ongoing arguments" over  someone washing their feet, with Covid given as the reason. It sounds like either one person has an unrealistic Covid hygiene obsession and the two of them should talk about that so they can stop arguing, or that one person wants the other to wash their feet more often and has brought Covid in as a pretext. If it's the latter, they will do better if they address the issue more directly instead of hiding behind Covid, because going down the rabbit hole of arguing that people need to wash their feet because of Covid is never going to end.
Avatar universal
If you're wearing shoes, what is there to sanitize even if it were possible to get the virus that way, which it doesn't appear to be?  If you were walking around in bare feet, it would make more sense, as there's all kinds of stuff you can walk around in, including animal feces etc., but if you're wearing shoes, your skin isn't actually touching anything but your shoe or your socks.  But the above is correct, it really doesn't pass by touching stuff, though we wash our hands because of extra caution and because our hands might get very close to our nose and mouth.  Not so much with feet.
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134578 tn?1642048000
The research is showing more clearly all the time that
Covid-19 is a respiratory virus, in other words, transmitted via particles in the air (breathing it in or possibly rubbing it into your respiratory tract via your eye or nose). Maybe somewhere with a known big load of the virus like an ICU might use clean-room techniques that might include walking through a shallow bath to sanitize the bottom of the shoes, but this kind of thing (and foot washing) have not been a recommended home practice. A lot of people do take off their outdoor footwear when they come home to keep the house cleaner in general, but this generally wouldn't be to prevent Covid.
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