When you get dressed in the morning you should think not only about how your clothes look but also how they can affect your health. It’s no joke. From a nerve problem known as meralgia paresthetica to the eye condition glaucoma, what you wear can be dangerous … even deadly!
If there’s one thing you can be sure of about shoelaces, it’s that they will eventually come untied, likely when you least expect it. This poses a serious fall hazard, and can lead to a devastating injury if you happen to step on an escalator.
Many escalators are not routinely checked for safety, and as a result may have missing metal teeth or dangerous gaps between the moving steps and the side. If your shoelace gets sucked into that gap, it will take your shoe — and your foot — with it.[i]
If you’re a lady, you know that where you go — your purse also goes. The grocery store, the doctor’s office, the bathroom … and inevitably your purse gets set down, a lot. As a result, ladies’ handbags are among the most contaminated possessions around. Studies have shown up to 100,000 bacteria per square inch on the bottom, including fecal matter.
The Center for Environmental Health also revealed that dozens of purses from major retailers are contaminated with high levels of lead, which could pose a danger to women and children alike.[ii]
While fine for wearing at the pool, wearing flip-flops when you’ll be walking any distance alters your gait, putting you at risk of problems with your lower legs, knees, and hips. Wearing flip-flops for too long can also cause sore feet and back pain.[iii]
Spanx and other constrictive garments are popular to give your body a sleeker shape, but because they work through constriction, they also put you at risk of nerve damage, similar to skinny jeans (see below). Along with causing compressed nerves, fitted, constrictive shapewear like Spanx may interfere with digestion by restricting your bowels, leading to abdominal pain.
If you wear these types of garments, only do so occasionally and be sure it’s not so tight that it’s uncomfortable (and keep in mind, any tight garment, such as a tight belt or control-top pantyhose can cause similar issues).
An improperly fitted bra will not give you the proper support, which can put you at risk of back and breast pain, or discomfort from straps cutting into your shoulders. There’s also speculation that a tight-fitting bra could interfere with proper lymph drainage, while metal underwires could attract electromagnetic fields or interfere with acupuncture points on your body.
Ladies, be sure to see a qualified bra-fitting consultant, as it’s estimated that the majority of women wear the wrong bra size.
Skinny jeans are all the rage, but if you wear them to tight they can cause nerve damage known as meralgia paresthetica. This occurs when one of the nerves on the outer region of your thigh becomes compressed, leading to tingling, numbness and pain.
For ladies, when you wear heals with tight skinny jeans, it can make the pressure on the nerves, and the subsequent symptoms, even worse. If you keep wearing overly tight skinny jeans even after feeling the symptoms described, you could end up with permanent nerve damage.[iv]
If you wear your necktie too tight, you may cause a mild increase in your eye pressure, leading to damage to the optic nerve or glaucoma, one of the leading causes of blindness. Tight neckties have also been linked to decreased circulation to your brain, less range of motion in your neck and increased muscle tension in your back and shoulders (you should be able to slip a finger between your neck and your collar, even while wearing a necktie).[v]
Neckties also pose a risk of getting caught in any moving equipment you happen to be near, such as paper shredders, escalators (if you bend down for any reason) and elevator doors.
Worse yet, if your doctors’ tie comes near you, duck … one study found that nearly half of doctors’ ties sampled contained dangerous bacteria that can cause pneumonia, blood infections and MRSA.[vi]
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[vi] Study presented at an American Society for Microbiology meeting, May 2004