Taking a holiday with someone you love is one of the best things ever.
A romantic beach walk can be one of the most memorable times on a trip away. Walking with the sand between your toes, holding each others’ hands, and catching a beautiful view can be much more amazing than your regular dinner and a meal.
It’s what Katie Stephens and Eddie Zytner thought they had in store when they headed to the Dominican Republic for a getaway. They never expected a romantic trip to a Caribbean spot could be so stressful.
The pair had zero idea they’d be in danger just from a barefoot walk by the sea.
But, once they got back home, Katie and Eddie realized how truly dangerous the beach sometimes is.
We’ve all heard loads of horror stories about people who’ve returned from holidays with unfortunate, mystery illnesses.
Frankly, though, it’s easy to dismiss—after all, it’s so rare.
When 22-year-old Katie and 25-year-old Eddie came back from spending a week in the Dominican Republic, their feet were itching beyond belief.
While the pair assumed at first that they’d been bitten by bugs, they soon discovered this was far from a regular itch.
As the Elite Daily reports, Eddie and Katie soon spotted bumps, blisters, and large swellings on both their feet. Of course, they sought medical attention a few times, yet it took weeks to receive a diagnosis.
Not one, or two, but three professionals were needed to figure out what the ailment was. According to CTV News, Katie and Eddie had cutaneous larva migrans (CLMs) in their feet. That is, hookworm larva had gotten through their intact skin and started to worm their way in.
Though it sounds incredible, unfortunately for the couple, it was definitely happening—there’s photographic evidence of the horrible situation, too.
But it got even worse.
Katie turned to social media to raise the alarm, posting some unhappy photos. Those with a sensitive stomach may find them difficult to handle.
CLMs are a dermal infection, where several types of microscopic larva penetrate the skin. These are different types of hookworms, and the nematode parasites were to blame for the couples itchiness and swelling.
”I have dozens of worms in my feet, and so does Katie,” said Eddie in an interview with Windsor Star.
“It’s kind of sickening to think about.” Eddie also said that the itching was “unbearable.”
Katie and Eddie's itching, as with other CLM victims, is the result of the worms leaving inflammation in their wake as they move around the foot. This also leads to blisters and red skin.
While most commonly located in the subtropics, in tropical areas, and the south of States, hookworms now appear in other regions. They're brought back by travelers, such as the unfortunate Eddie and Katie.
If you’re planning a tropical seaside stroll sometime soon, be warned, and look out.
It’s possible to catch hookworms when strolling on moist, wet, and warm sand. Here, they can penetrate your skin.
CLM can’t live for very long within us as humans, generally dying after several days.
But for Katie and Eddie, they lasted ages.
If CLM remains untreated over a period of time, they can roam around, causing the rupturing and blisters that this poor couple experienced.
Even after the condition has been properly identified, it’s not simple to treat them while overseas.
“To top it all off, Health Canada denied our request to receive the medicine (ivermectin) we needed to treat our infection and (we) were forced to get medicine from the states,” posted Katie.
Eddie’s mother needed to drive into the States to find the medicine that could help the pair. As Katie noted, sarcastically: “Thank you Canada for your lovely healthcare you provide for us!”
Dr. Caplivski, an Associate Professor at Icahn Medical School, advised Cosmopolitan readers to take extra care by wearing shoes while walking along on moist and warm beach sand.
Show extra caution when the beaches are a popular spot for both strays and pets. When lying down, use a towel to protect your bare flesh from the worms.
If you’re feeling more than a little itchy after you’ve been to the beach, Katie’s got some advice: “Please get it checked out right away”.
“We simply thought it was just bug bites, and it became worse as each day passed.”
So warm, romantic, sandy walks can be amazing, but take extra care to look after yourself. The worms that might come with it are definitely not fun.
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