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Three Travelers Contract Parasites Walking Barefoot During a Beach Vacation

Water shoes may not be the most attractive footwear while walking along the beach, but three female travelers wish they had been wearing them while visiting Negril, Jamaica.

Two weeks ago, Tara Benedek, Karin Weatherbie, and Brigitte May were like many other travelers on a Jamaican vacation – they walked the beach barefoot. However, by walking along the beach without any shoes, they contracted painful parasites called hookworms.

Hookworms await in the beach sand (or soil) to infect their victims by burrowing inside their feet and creating blisters and swollen, itchy skin. Generally, hookworms develop by feces left by dogs or cats in vacation areas. Other parasites can be contracted in various places while on vacation like in hotel pools.

“Basically, there are larvae, worms in our feet,” Tara Benedek told CTV News Toronto.

“You can see the track marks of the worms in your feet,” Brigitte May said. “It’s the most horrible, horrible experience ever.”

In addition to the blisters and painful itching, hookworms can also cause weight loss, fatigue, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

The women received medical treatment at a local Toronto hospital after returning home from vacation.

“They were the only ones that were able to see us, know exactly what it is, and provide the medication right away,” Karin Weatherbie said.

Benedek said, “What I would recommend for anybody going forward, and I wish that I knew, is to wear water shoes on the beach, sandals, something to cover your feet at all times, especially if you see stray animals around the beach.”

“I’m already Googling water shoes for my next trip.”

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