the answer files

Why is the sky blue?

What is lightning?

What are the states of matter?

Does hot water freeze faster than cold?

Why does a can of Coke sink while a can of Diet Coke floats?

Why do you close your eyes when you sneeze?

Why do mosquitoes bite me more than my friends?

Why do your feet stink?

How does gravity work?

How fast does the space shuttle move in orbit?

What is escape velocity?

What would happen if you turned on your headlights while moving at the speed of light?

Why do your feet stink?
The Why Files hoofed this question to someone who's paid to comprehend whys and wherefores of funky feet. Alan Kalker, a podiatrist and clinical instructor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Hospitals and Clinics, told us that the soles of your feet sweat just like the palms of your hands. sneakerProblem is, you don't wear gloves all summer, but you probably do wear shoes and socks, which tend to trap sweat, something that normal bacteria on your skin love to eat.

When bacteria digest something as putrid as sweat, it stands to reason their by-products would stink. And they do. In fact, it's bacterial waste that we call "putrid pedestrian perfume."

To control foot odor, start by reducing the factors that allow sweat to gather. Use socks of pure cotton or cotton with a small percentage of artificial fiber -- both tend to "wick" sweat away from your skin. Avoid all-plastic shoes in preference for leather or breathable fabric shoes. Alternate shoes so they can dry between uses. Use a foot powder daily.

If the odor persists, it's time to see a doctor. That unwholesome stench can be caused by systemic illnesses, and our guess is you'd want to know if, for example, your thyroid is too active. In any case, docs can usually treat the odor with prescription drugs.

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The Why Files
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