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Before you close that suitcase-throw in an extra pair of shoes!

When thinking about hotel cleanliness, most travelers focus on avoiding bringing bed bugs back home with them, but there is another unwelcome guest who could also be lurking in your hotel room: foot fungus.

Luckily, foot fungus can be prevented in a much easier way than bed bugs: WEAR SHOES.

Most experts claim the most probable suspect of “traveler’s foot” is the more commonly-known athlete’s foot fungus, and it’s easy to see why they have such suspicions.

Athlete’s foot fungus thrives and multiplies in moisture-which can be found in nearly all corners of a hotel:

• The bathroom in your own suite
• The hotel pool, sauna, hot tub, etc
• The hotel gym

These wet areas put you at risk for tracking moisture everywhere you walk-including the carpeted floors in your individual room.

While warm, carpeted floors are nice in the morning when you wake up in your hotel, you should be weary of the risks that very carpet poses to your feet. That very carpet is likely the perfect breeding ground for organisms such as athlete’s foot fungus, along with another aspect of your hotel room that could be a host for athlete’s foot: your shoes.

Another commonly-known growing site for athlete’s foot is in moisture-retaining shoes, which can be avoided by simply allowing your shoes to dry out when they become wet from sweat, rain, or other sources of moisture. Unfortunately, the common traveler tends to be minimalistic while packing for a trip, especially when it comes to shoes-which are notorious for hogging luggage space. Due to lack of shoes while traveling, people tend to re-wear wet shoes, putting them at higher risk for fungus.

Vigilance in hotel guests is essential going in to the fight against “traveler’s foot”, because in the hotel staff, it is rare or even nonexistent. One hotel maid in a tell-all to the Huffington post revealed that on busier days of the week with many rooms to be cleaned, vacuuming the floors of the rooms is omitted from the cleaning schedule in order to save time. Even on the days that the floors are vacuumed, it is likely that it makes little difference in the cleanliness of the floors, because the vacuums used by hotel cleaning staff are seldom the appropriate type of vacuum for the specific carpet type in the rooms.

With all of the issues stemming from carpet in hotel rooms, you might wonder, “why don’t hotels switch to some other type of floor?” The answer is that although carpet retains bacteria more than its hardwood or tile alternatives, it masks dirt and stains better and requires fewer “deep cleans” than hard floors that could be mopped regularly. So don’t be fooled by the appearance of hotel floors- wear shoes at all times when staying in hotels and don’t fall victim to “traveler’s foot”!

If you are experiencing Athlete’s foot or a fungal nail infection, call our office at 859-264-1411 or make an online appointment.