Another potential downside to going barefoot (who knew there were so many?): It can possibly lead to a dermatological condition called creeping eruption. This itchy and unattractive threadlike rash, caused by a parasite, spreads to humans through skin contact with hookworm-infected animal feces on the ground. Creeping eruption is more common in warmer climates where the parasite is more prevalent, says Franz Ritucci, M.D., physician and director of the American Academy of Urgent Care Medicine in Orlando. It also affects more children than adults, since kids tend to go barefoot in areas adults might sidestep.
Once bacteria seep under the skin, symptoms usually appear immediately, with some reddish discoloration and varying intensity of itching. “Seek immediate medical assistance [to get] antibiotics,” says Ritucci. “It’s not very difficult to treat, but it can spread very fast.”