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Health Information For Kids
They’re your tootsies, your dogs, your piggies. Whatever you call them, feet are an important part of you. Without them, you couldn’t stand up, walk around, or run a race. In fact, your feet work so hard for you that sometimes they get sweaty. And stinky.
Think of a hot, summer day when you’ve been walking around an amusement park all afternoon. Oooh, boy — your feet have been in those sneakers a long time! On the car ride home, you decide to kick off your shoes. It feels good, but it smells bad. In fact, you might get an earful from the other passengers in the car: P.U. — what stinks?
Bacteria are to blame. These tiny critters normally inhabit your feet and love dark, damp places like the insides of sweaty shoes. They multiply in sweat, so if you don’t wear socks, that really gets them going.
In the right conditions, bacteria will feast on your feet. These bacteria eat dead skin cells and oils from your skin. Their colonies will grow and start getting rid of waste in the form of organic acids. It’s those organic acids that smell bad.
And for 10% to 15% of people, the smell is really bad. Why? Because their feet are extra sweaty and become home to bacteria called Kyetococcus sedentarius (say: kite-oh-KAH-kus SEH-den-tair-ee-us). These bacteria produce more than just stinky organic acids — they also produce stuff called volatile sulfur compounds. Sulfur compounds usually are powerful and awful smelling. If you’ve ever smelled a rotten egg, you know what volatile sulfur compounds smell like.
There’s usually no need to worry about stinky feet. But if the stink bothers you or someone notices it, you may want help to step in.
So how can you stop your feet from stinking? Well, you might not be able to stop stink completely. But if you cut down on sweat, you’ll cut down on the odor.
Try these steps:
If you still have problems with foot odor, talk with your mom or dad to get their opinion. If they agree think the stink is a concern, they can try getting you odor-fighting powder or insoles. If nothing seems to work, you might want to talk with your doctor about what to do. The doctor may give you a special medicine to put on your feet.
For most people, foot odor can be controlled. The worst part about having stinky feet is that it’s embarrassing. If you’re worried about this, just keep your shoes on when you’re in social situations, like when you’re at school or riding in a car.
At home, keep your feet clean and go barefoot so they get some air. If your feet are clean and dry, those bacteria will have to find their lunch somewhere else!
Is your foot asleep? Find out why in this article for kids.
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You may have heard the old joke: If your nose is running and your feet smell, you must be upside down! But did you ever wonder why your nose runs?
Anyone can get athlete’s foot. Find out how to avoid this itchy skin condition in this article for kids.
Everybody sweats. Find out why perspiration happens in this article for kids.
A burp – sometimes also called a belch – is nothing but gas. Find out more about burping and what to do if it happens to you in this article for kids.
A belly button, also called a navel, is something everyone in the world has! You can find out why in our article for kids.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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