A warning from a young couple who recently returned from holidaying at the Dominican Republic has gone viral because it’s… well, horrific.
Katie Stephens, 22, of Ontario, Canada, and her boyfriend Eddie Zytner, 25, were enjoying a tropical holiday in Punta Cana when their feet became unexplainably, unendurably itchy.
“To anybody travelling somewhere tropical, please be careful when in the sand and wear shoes,” Stephens posted to Facebook last week.
At first, Stephens told Fox News, they thought the itchiness was on account of sand fleas. “We were scratching our feet quite a bit,” she said.
But after coming home to Canada, the pair found their feet were getting worse. Zytner was experiencing swelling, and the photographs posted to Facebook show blistering and redness.
“We discovered we both have Larva Migrans,” Stephens wrote to Facebook. “Or, in other terms, worms in our feet.”
“If your feet become incredibly itchy please get it checked out right away since we simply thought it was just bug bites and it became worse as each day passed.”
Larva Migrans are a type of hookworm. They infect animals – typically dogs – and when the dog passes feces onto the sand, for example, the worms spread like larvae through the beach.
LISTEN: How Commando Steve gets his kids moving.
According to a study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, Larva Migrans embed themselves into human skin, however that’s where they stop.
Though can they infect the deeper tissues of animals, including the lungs and intestine, humans are ‘lucky’ in that the worms can’t get past our epidermis.
Treatment can be successful with a topical cream or medication. According to Fox News, Stephens and Zytner were prescribed medication.