Tropical Beach Parasites Result in Gruesome Injuries for Vacationers
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. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. 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
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees