Dry, clean socks are among the simplest ways to keep homeless people out of hospital and prevent them from suffering serious skin and bone infections that could culminate in amputation.
Sonja Sinclair, program co-ordinator at the Health Contact Centre, which runs a foot clinic in the Downtown Eastside, said many of their clients spend upwards of 20 hours a day on their feet — often wearing ill-fitting shoes with dirty socks, or no socks at all.
“It leads to blisters, lesions and cuts,” Sinclair said. “When you don’t have a clean pair of socks it can lead to infection very quickly.”
If not treated, the infections can quickly snowball, leading to life-threatening and debilitating illnesses, lengthy hospital stays, and even amputations, she said.
The Health Contact Centre’s foot clinic will receive about 25,000 visits this winter.
Vancouver Coastal Health kicked off its ninth annual Sox in the City campaign yesterday at John Oliver Secondary School in Vancouver.
Students and teachers gathered 4,055 pairs of socks over three weeks, surpassing their goal of 1,200.
“It’s a very simple solution,” Sinclair said. “If things do not get treated, they get worse very quickly with a population that is immune compromised”