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I’ve always been a bit of a germaphobe. Nothing crazy. Just a healthy, small dose of phobia. Enough, I think, to keep me reasonably healthy without seeming over the top about it. My husband (Johnny Jet) on the other hand, has always been … well … let’s just say that I’ve seen him secretly wiping down the jungle gym at our local park before our son plays on it. When the pandemic started and everyone raced out to stock up on disinfectant wipes, we were like, disinfectant wipes? That’s just a regular day in our house – we had enough stocked in the basement to last a long time. Sanitizing your airplane seat and surrounding area as soon as you board? We’ve been doing it for years and kicked it into high gear once the kids came along (I died a thousand little deaths the day I caught my two-year-old son licking an airplane window).
But then coronavirus happened and the threat of a virus became more real than it has ever been in our lifetime. We’ve been taking all sorts of precautions to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. We’ve invested in face masks, disposable gloves, a pulse oximeter, a non-contact infrared thermometer and hand sanitizer (this is the best – and best-smelling! – hand sanitizer you’ll ever use!)
But there’s one more thing we’ve started using regularly. Shoe covers.
We have a strict ‘no shoes in the house’ policy. But pre-pandemic we often had people coming into the house, like repair workers or painters or the guy who expertly hangs all our artwork. Instead of always asking people to remove their shoes, we offer them shoe covers. It’s easier for them and it keeps our floors and carpets clean.
When coronavirus turned our worlds upside down, I started to fret about even the smallest amount of possible exposure. I was wiping down groceries and not letting the kids touch anything that entered the house from outside unless it was disinfected. I walk twice a day and I leave my shoes just inside the front door when I get home. But then I started getting paranoid about the dirt and germs on the soles of my shoes, especially since we have a baby who is still crawling.
According to this NPR article, a droplet, which is a “virus-filled particle of breath or spittle that comes out of the nose or mouth of an infected individual when they breathe, speak, cough or sneeze, generally falls to the ground within a few feet of the person who expels them. Directly coming into contact with respiratory droplets is currently considered the most frequent mode of transmission, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and WHO.”
So that means that technically, these droplets can be transferred to your shoes from the ground and you can spread it to other places where you walk.
The article goes on to say that the virus can spread through indirect transmission “if people touch the surface of a virus-covered object, pick up the virus on their hands and then introduce the virus to their eyes, nose or mouth.”
Long story short: I’ve started covering up my shoes with shoe covers whenever I return home, so that the dirty soles aren’t spreading germs (and potentially the virus) around my home. They’re always handy to have, especially if you have other people coming into your home, and they’re also perfect for packing. I used to use plastic bags but ever since single-use plastic bags were banned in California, they’re hard to come by. So these shoe covers like these ones are perfect to prevent the soles of my shoes touching anything else in my suitcase. And even though they’re disposable, I reuse them so I’m not throwing them out constantly. I would only dispose of them if you’re actually using them to cover your shoes and walk outdoors or on any potentially contaminated surface. This pack of 100 from Amazon has lasted years and is still going strong!