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Why Kids Should Avoid Trying New Shoes On Without Socks

child trying on shoes

When shopping for shoes, do you ever think twice about trying shoes on without socks? A U.K. mom is warning others about the dangers of trying on shoes without wearing socks after her daughter developed a serious infection.

Jodie Thomas said her daughter developed a serious infection and nearly died after trying on shoes at a store. The 4-year-old child wore sandals and tried on other shoes barefoot, which may have led her to pick up a dangerous infection, her mom shared on Facebook.

“For all parents please put socks on you’re children while trying new shoes on,” Jodie Thomas wrote. “I’m guilty not doing it for mine and myself, but this can be the outcome infection spreading throughout the body. You don't don't know whos feet has been in them before hand!!"

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"Sienna has had one hell of an outing and thankfully and touch wood made a full recovery! Who would thought trying new shoes on could make somone [sic] so ill. So with back to school shopping under way, carry a pair of spare socks”

Thomas posted several photos of her daughter in a hospital bed, with a visibly infected wound at the base of her pinky toe. The next day, Thomas took Sienna to the hospital after noticing that the infection had spread up her leg. Sienna also had a fever, and she was “shaking and twitching,” her mother told MetroUK.

Sienna was diagnosed with sepsis, a dangerous complication of an infection that enters the bloodstream that can quickly become fatal. Thankfully doctors were able to treat Sienna without having to do surgery.

Can someone contract a dangerous infection from trying on shoes?

Health spoke with both a podiatrist and an infectious disease specialist to answer the question. Sepsis can occur when bacteria enter the body through an open wound; it’s likely that Sienna already had a cut on her foot while trying on shoes.

“That abrasion provided a location for bacteria to enter her body,” says William Schaffner, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The bacteria then entered her bloodstream, which not common but can occur. Sepsis is what happens when a bacterial infection enters the bloodstream, causing inflammation to spread throughout the body

While we all will experience small abrasions and cuts, few of us will ever develop dangerous infections. But sometimes, a cut can lead to infection. Dr. Schaffner says it’s likely Sienna became infected with bacteria she had carried on her own skin.

We all carry numerous strains of bacteria in and on our bodies at all times, including Group A streptococcus, which are completely harmless. But if those same bacteria make their way into an open cut, scratch or bug bite, they can cause infection.

Dr. Schaffner told Health that children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems are more at risk, he adds, but both infections and sepsis can also happen to perfectly healthy people.

To be safe? It’s best to wear socks while shopping for shoes that other people have worn.

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