Walking Barefoot After The Club Could Land You A Hookworm

To Kill A Mockingbird is one of the most iconic novels to ever be written. It is jam-packed with life lessons, from learning the importance of compromise to learning to place ourselves in the shoes of others. While these messages are important, one of my greatest takeaways has nothing to do with a major life lesson. I’m not exactly proud of it, but the part I remember most is the part about Walter Cunningham’s hookworms.

I truly understand how ridiculous it sounds, but parasites freak me out and that passage was my first introduction to this specific parasite. I read To Kill A Mockingbird in the seventh grade. Since reading, I never allowed myself to walk anywhere without shoes, no matter how easy it was to go barefoot or how badly my feet burned through my stilettos. Fifteen years later my fear of contracting hookworms has been revived by a story I read on a couple vacationing in Punta Cana.

Back in January, a Canadian couple returned from their vacation in the Dominican Republic with hookworms in their feet. What started as an intense itch became painful swelling and blistering. After seeking medical attention, the couple was informed that they had contracted cutaneous larva migrans (also known as Creeping Eruption), a skin infection caused by the larvae of hookworms.

The two had walked barefoot along the sands of Punta Cana and suspected that this may have been how they got it. It’s pretty scary when you think about how many of us walk any given beach without shoes. We love the feeling of rubbing our toes in the sand and summer is approaching. With plans for travel, it’s important to take the proper precautions.

A hookworm is a parasitic worm that inhabits the intestines of various animals, dogs, cats, and humans included. A hookworm has hook-like mouthpieces that it uses to latch on to the intestine wall, hence the name. Humans can contract hookworms through the larvae that can be found in dirt contaminated by feces.

The site of infection will usually start with itching and rash. Depending on