How worried do you need to be about catching coronavirus from your shoes?
As stories swirl, here’s what a doctor says
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The main advice for limiting the spread of coronavirus – other than staying at home, unless you’re an essential worker – is to wash your hands thoroughly, to use hand sanitiser gel and to catch coughs or sneezes in a tissue. But should that list include taking your shoes off when you get home?
Stories have been circulating around this issue, stating that the materials that typically make up shoes could be a place for the virus to lurk.
A study conducted at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that the virus can live up to two or three days on hard plastic surfaces. Given that the soles of shoes are made from durable, non-porous materials such as plastic and rubber, it is possible that the virus could survive on soles.
Can coronavirus spread on your shoes?
Provided you follow the general rules of hygiene around shoes, you shouldn’t be too worried about this. As Covid-19 is spread through contact with respiratory droplets from someone who is infected, the likelihood of spreading or contracting the virus from shoes is low.
Dr Adwoa Danso, a London-based NHS GP, says, “We do know that coronavirus can live on surfaces, and this would include shoes.
“Having said that, it is still low risk and requires droplets to land on said surface. Most people already have a habit of taking their shoes off before entering their homes so I would encourage people to keep this up.”
Catching coronavirus from your shoes would only be possible if the respiratory secretions of someone who was infected survived on the pavement, transferred to your shoes, and were then transferred from your shoes to your mouth – which is extremely unlikely if you’re following basic hygiene guidance.