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Shoes: New Airport Health Hazard

Taking your shoes off at airport security checkpoints exposes your feet to fungus and injury.

We Aren't Making This Up

WebMD asked its members whether they had any concerns about bare feet and airport floors. Everybody who flies seems to have foot-wrestled with the issue.

"I was appalled that I had to remove my flip flops and walk bare foot through the medal detector -- not once but twice going to and from Florida," a member writes. "I think this is a major health issue and it needs to be addressed. I've already dealt with having a toenail fungus and it wasn't easy to get rid of. I was nervous about what else I could pick up by doing this."

Some worry that they've already been infected.

"I've had my shoes off -- I was even told to remove my socks," another member writes. "The scary part of all that is that I've been fighting a fungus on my left foot for about a year -- no joke -- and that's about the time I was all but stripped at the Orlando International Airport when I escorted my stepson to his plane. I've had to replace all my shoes, bleach my tile floors, I've taken topical creams (almost every OTC kind, then got an Rx or two from my doc), and even an Rx pill to take - and NOTHING has worked. My doc is baffled! Ok, now I am totally grossed out. Totally and completely. I never even considered the airport incident!"

And some just worry:

  • "Why cant they just have you remove one shoe at a time and inspect it so you don't have to put your barefoot on the disgusting floor?"
  • " I was flying from Cleveland to Atlanta, and ... I had to take [my dress] boots off so that the screener could feel my feet, then I was asked to take of my socks, because I had two toe rings on my toes. I was not too thrilled about walking on the floor with bare feet, due to the fact that there is no telling what is on the floor."
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Reviewed on August 27, 2003

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