Wednesday, August 10, 2011


My feet do not have cooties. They may not be the prettiest feet in the world, but at least they are honest 76 year old feet. They've served me well, bunions and all, and I'm hoping for a few more years without additional hammertoes. They'll never win a "Foot-Beautiful" contest, for sure, but I'm here to tell you that at least they don't have cooties. Visible ones, anyway.

I have always gone around barefoot. In my youth, from the end of the school year to the end of summer I rarely put a shoe on. Young people's shoes were sturdy and mostly ugly. When we walked a mile to the beach each day, we went barefooted. There were no things like flip-flops. Our feet just adapted to hot pavement and sidewalks and sand (and I suppose cooties, but I didn't know about those things then). As I grew up, the first thing I did when I got home from anywhere was to kick my shoes off. And I still am mostly barefoot in the summer by choice. But the shoes on my feet, above, are what summer shoes I wear when I HAVE to. They are old and comfy and kind of beat-up, but I use them instead of Flip-Flops to hide a multitude of those old-age ugly-foot occurrences when I can't go barefoot.

And now someone is telling me that I shouldn't wear even my old faithfuls because foot cooties can breech the gap between the sidewalk and the sole of my shoe and give me horrible things -- germs that are being called "cooties" in a spate of cleverness by the author of an article on foot care.

Here's his quote: "When walking on the street in something like a flip-flop, you are exposing your foot to vomitus, human waste, some of which may have microbacteria -- and a wide variety of other things..." He adds that if your feet have cuts or open blisters, you may unknowingly be laying out a welcome mat to "norovirus, resistent superbugs like Pseudomonas, Klebsiella Pneumonia and MRSA." Apparently the summer heat causes massive breeding of these cooties (his word) on the street and they particularly like to jump up onto the soles of your feet and lay you low."

The author of the article says our skin is the first line of defense against cooties so it behooves us to keep an eye on foot blisters or cuts to keep the skin on our feet healthy. And keep strappy sandals and Flip Flops off our feet. To be safe, I suggest, wear hip waders.

I really don't think I'm going to change my foot habits all that much. The article gives a few things that might help foot health maintenance at the end of the day, such as soaking feet in a blend of water and grapefruit juice, or making a foot scrub using a blend of granulated sugar, olive oil and some kind of smell-sweet essential oil. And when all that's completed, it's recommended to rub Petroleum jelly on both feet, put white socks on, and jump in bed.

If someone offered to do a soak or a scrub on my poor aging feet at night, I'd probably let him (hint, hint), but I know it's not going to happen. Nor is the vaseline and sock bit. Nor is throwing away my beat-up old summer shoes for Doc Martins. I've started using antibacterial hand wipes when I push a grocery cart around, and that's my one concession to cooties of the hand. I guess cooties of the feet are just going to have to stay there.


Olga said...

Oh, my. I am always barefoot around the house--and sometimes in the yard. I have an extensive flip flop 'wardrobe.' I hadn't thought about cooties, but I do have to wear regular shoes a lot more these days just because I keep stubbing, spraining, and even breaking the little piggies.

Bev Sykes said...

I figure if I have lived this long without cooties, I'm OK.

But the other day my 3 yr old granddaughter was crawling around under the kitchen table as we finished breakfast and she came up to say "Grandma, what happened to your feet?" Surprised, I asked what she meant and she said "Your toes are all wrinkly."

'fraid there is no cure for wrinkly toes!