You thought you could relax and kick your shoes off at the beach, huh? Nope. Danger is everywhere.
Young Canadian couple Katie Stephens, 22, and Eddie Zytner, 25, are warning people to really watch where they’re walking barefoot at the beach after a trip to the Dominican Republic ended with a hospital stay. The two told CTV News that their feet were infested with hookworm larvae after a day walking the shore. The viral Facebook post showing the damage has been horrifying everyone who sees it:
Wow, rare to hear a healthcare story where Canada looks worse than the U.S.
You can see how the hookworms got progressively worse and worse in the photos:
Here it is just days later:
Zytner told CTVNews that though their feet were itchy pretty much right away, they thought it was nothing at first.
“For a lot of our trip, we found that we were scratching our feet quite a bit,” he explained. “Sand fleas we had heard about so we kind of assumed it was that at first.”
It wasn’t until they returned home and the blisters started to form that they became worried.
“I had a lot of itchiness during the trip,” said Stephens. “I think I might have complained about it a little bit more that my feet were really itchy, but mine didn’t start swelling and everything until about the Sunday night.”
They went to the hospital, and were seen by two different doctors who didn’t recognize the condition. Zytner was send home with nothing more than bandages. It wasn’t until four days after their return home that a hospital doctor who had seen hookworms in Thailand figured out what the problem was.
The couple was prescribed ivermectin, a medicine that isn’t licensed in Canada. They had to send in a special request for it—and their health insurance allegedly told them their hookworm wasn’t severe enough to justify ordering the meds.
Zytner’s mother drove to Detroit to pick some up for 88 Canadian dollars, which is more inconvenient than expensive. Though to Canadians, spending money on meds probably seems crazy.
They’re both recovering slowly, though they still have to use crutches to get around.
They say they’re sharing their story so more doctors see the condition.
Hookworms can be caught by stepping in dirt or sand touched by an infected animal’s feces. You might think you’d know if you are standing in poop, but the world is a litter box.
To prevent it, wear shoes outside, wash your hands before eating, and make sure your own pets are treated. This is definitely not the way that anyone wants to end a vacation.