Man is hospitalized after sniffing his own socks
Those working in the medical industry - especially emergency care - are sure to see some strange cases during their time, but few will be as odd as this. Earlier this week, it was reported that a 37-year-old man from Zhangzhou, southeast China, was admitted to hospital after suffering adverse effects following excessive sock-sniffing.
The man, known only as Peng, was taken to the emergency department after complaining of chest pains and a persistent cough. Fearing something severe, doctors gave him an x-ray in order to determine the cause of the problem, and it was soon discovered that he had developed a fungal infection in his lungs.
Peng was kept in hospital in order to receive treatment for his condition and, while he was there, the doctors realised what had caused the presence of fungus in the first place: he couldn't stop smelling his socks.
As disgusting as it sounds, Peng had been routinely removing his dirty socks from his feet and taking a huge whiff of them before putting them in the wash. And, if that wasn't gross enough, it turns out that the man had a fungal infection on his feet - an infection that very quickly entered his lungs when he inhaled spores from the socks.
According to doctors, Peng had been doing this ritual quite frequently; however, he only got ill recently due to having a weakened immune system as a result of being exhausted from looking after his baby.
"The infection could also be attributed to the patient's lack of rest at home as he had been looking after his child, leading to a weaker immune system," said Dr Mai Zhuanying.
Though it is obviously very rare to hear of a case like this, it is quite common for people to develop fungal infections on their feet.
According to WebMD, Athlete's foot is one of the most common infections, and can be easily contracted by people who are not careful to mind the hygiene of their feet in certain areas.
"The fungus grows best in a warm, moist environment such as shoes, socks, swimming pools, locker rooms, and the floors of public showers. It is most common in the summer and in warm, humid climates," WebMD explains. "It occurs more often in people who wear tight shoes, stay in sweaty socks, and who use community baths and pools."
Thankfully, fungal infections on the skin are relatively easy to treat, and can be cleared up with a small course of medication.
As bizarre and strange as this incident may sound, of course, it must be noted that it's highly unlikely that anyone else with a fungal foot infection will have the problem spread to their lungs - unless they're also sniffing their dirty socks every evening.
In Peng's case, it is understood that he is still in hospital, but is expected to make a full recovery. Hopefully, he'll refrain from sticking his nose in his socks in future.