John Chapman asked:
Can you catch foot odour?
Kat - Foot odour is primarily due to the bacteria that live just around your feet. If you've got sweaty feet, if you don't keep them clean you're going to have a massive build-up of bacteria. Technically if you rubbed your feet you would transfer the bacteria but then they would need to have the right conditions like sweaty, dirty feet. One thing that can make your feet smell a bit is having athlete's foot. That is a fungal infection and you can catch that. You can pick it up in changing rooms, you can pick it up by rubbing your feet against someone's who's got it. That might make your feet a bit whiffy and you could catch that.
Dave - Would different bacteria smell different? Maybe you can catch a different set of smelly bacteria off someone else?
Kat - Different bacteria do have different smells. There's all kinds of bacteria in the world that have different properties and it's all about the gases that they produce that make you smell. They may react differently on your skin if you have different levels of things in your sweat. I don't want to talk about this any longer!
Chris - A few foot-related facts. Your feet actually squirt a litre-and-a-half of sweat into your socks every 24 hours. You're shedding something like 40,000 skin cells every minute or so over a lifetime that adds up to one-and-a-half stone of dead skin. If you take the surface area of your body and feet are a proportion, that's a lot of dead skin just off your feet. If your feet are stewing in a nice sweaty pair of trainers that don't allow them to breathe what you've got is bacteria, warm, wet and food and that's what causes the bacterial banquet that makes the smelliness.
Kat - Wash your feet, change your socks.
My wife is very petite and has dainty little feet. The only problem is they stink! She likes to warm her feet on mine in bed so what I would like to know is this:
I guess you could catch foot odour Chemistry4me, Wed, 25th Feb 2009
The bacteria are only half the story; the balance of the different components in the sweat is the other half.
Thanks guys. What about the idea that the bacteria might be airborne, using the smell as some kind of vector, or at least travel buddy? Any thoughts? John Chapman, Thu, 26th Feb 2009
I am no Scientist or Doctor so this is only my opinion. I think if she were to be using a ped egg or some similar foot scraping device to smooth the calouses etc then perhaps the bacteria could become airbourne in the fine powder of dead skin shed from the foot after sanding..etc... then it could possibly be inhaled ..I think... and shared towels used o feet can spread bacteria.. but the odor itself carring the bacteria..I really doubt.. but perhaps someone with better knowledge could tell us. Karen W., Thu, 26th Feb 2009
But the fungus will release spores that you can certainly breath in!! Chemistry4me, Thu, 26th Feb 2009
You think??? Kinda like a mushroom fungus??? the certainly do... I really don't know....you think foe real? Lol..
I think the 'smell' molecules will be far smaller than a bacterium, and so it's very unlikely that the bacteria will be wafting along with foot odour. I could be wrong, as many bacteria are airborne... BRValsler, Thu, 26th Feb 2009
I think the simple empirical answer might well be if you could catch it, you would have done. Bored chemist, Thu, 26th Feb 2009
Pawwww, what a pong! Don_1, Thu, 13th Aug 2009
Purr-fectly captured. The smell just has me feline sick. Chemistry4me, Thu, 13th Aug 2009
Actually Ive always wondered. Why is it we have noses that run but feet that smell? Im a Geek on the Edge, Sat, 29th Aug 2009
I say, I say, I say!
Whoa! You've got three hairs on your hallux! Chemistry4me, Sun, 30th Aug 2009
Oh dear. Doesn't everybody? Geezer, Sun, 30th Aug 2009