This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
A Canadian couple’s romantic beach vacation had anything but a fairytale ending.
Excited to escape winter weather for a brief moment, Katie Stephens and Eddie Zytner wandered the beaches of Punta Cana barefoot each day during their week-long vacation, only to return with memories they’d prefer to forget.
After walking in the sand outside their Dominican Republic resort, the couple said their feet began to itch, but they attributed their discomfort to possible bites from sand fleas.
After arriving back in Canada, they sought medical treatment for their increasingly painful, blistering feet, although it took consultations from three different doctors before the final physician was able to diagnose the source of infection: hookworm larvae.
Ancylostoma hookworms typically inhabit the intestines of household pets, such as dogs and cats. Humans risk infection when they come in contact with infected animal feces, when parasite eggs hatch into larvae that thrive in moist soil or sand. The miniscule parasites enter unsuspecting hosts by penetrating bare skin.
“I have dozens of worms in my feet, and so does Katie,” Zytner said. “It’s kind of sickening to think about.”
After several days, both victims had swollen blisters and visible red tracks all over their feet that showed where the worms had traveled under the skin. Adding insult to injury, Zytner and Stephens found out that scratching the itchy spots made the worms burrow even further, worsening the damage. The couple couldn’t bear to wear shoes or socks, and eventually needed crutches to get around.
“I started to freak out,” Stephens said.
To make the situation even more miserable, the couple also discovered that the medication used to treat hookworms isn’t readily available in Canada. Ivermectin — the drug they needed — is only available by federal approval on a case-by-case basis. “They said our case wasn’t severe enough to get the medication,” Zytner said. In a Facebook post, Stephens said that they eventually got their medication from the US.
In the same post, Stephens and Zytner offered blunt advice: “Be careful in the sand, and wear shoes.”
Featured image by oneinchpunch/Getty Images
This cash back card has a focus on dining and entertainment where you can earn unlimited 4% cash back in those spending categories. You can also earn 2% cash back at grocery stores and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
- Earn a one-time $500 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
- Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases
- No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
- No foreign transaction fees
- Access to premium experiences in dining, entertainment and more
- $0 intro annual fee for the first year, $95 after that