Before you scroll down, we must warn you that you might want to skip the pictures below. Even if you can stand some fairly unpleasant visuals, the images could make you feel a bit sick. As horrible as it is, we had to show the graphic content in order to warn all of the readers who enjoy going on exotic holidays.
There are many things that could go wrong when you take a long trip around places you have never seen or visited before. The surprises you are likely to receive are generally pleasant; however, in other cases, you could end up regretting that you went there in the first place.
A couple of lovebirds found out the hard way that going to a dreamy destination does not mean that you will experience only heavenly emotions. Katie Stephens (22) and Eddie Zytner (25), a Canadian couple who planned to spend an entire week in the Dominican Republic, sadly did not enjoy their stay. Instead, they got to enjoy something exotic, but exotic in one of the most negative ways—they contracted parasitic hookworms.
The infection occurred after what seemed to be a regular barefoot walk around Punta Cana beaches. This has probably been done by a lot of people who have visited the place, but it can be used as a warning to anyone who intends to do the same—obviously, it is not as safe and innocent as it looks, and you could be risking your health.
Immediately after the walk, their feet started to itch a little bit, and they concluded that they probably caught fleas. But soon enough, it was clear enough that there was something much worse going on.
Upon returning to Ontario on 18th of January, Zytner was worried because his feet were badly swollen. Also, his toes had tiny bumps all over them.
Realizing that there was a problem that would not fix itself, the couple decided to get some medical help, and they had to go to three different specialists to finally be properly diagnosed—the third doctor immediately knew what he was dealing with, because he had treated a patient recently who had the same type of infection, which the patient caught during his stay in Thailand.
Despite the initial stress about the nasty condition, there was some good news—it turned out that the hookworms can be cured completely by treatment with a special medication – Ivermectin. Unfortunately for the young couple, the expenses for the treatment with this particular medication could not be covered by the healthcare system in Canada.
The healthcare department actually sent a reply to their request, explaining that the department would not pay for the medication because the condition the patients had was not serious enough, which was quite a surprise.
Ironically, the solution to the problem turned out to be just outside the country’s borders. The mother of Katie Stephens agreed to drive to Detroit just to get the medication needed from a local pharmacy.
Within three days of using the medication as prescribed, the effect has been astonishing, and the infection is clearly fading away; still, both Stephens and Zytner still have had to use crutches to be able to walk. But considering the rate at which their feet are healing, things should to be back to where they were pretty soon. After seeing the bad infection slowly fade away, the couple decided to share their awful experience with everybody who might end up exposed to the same condition.
Zytner and his girlfriend need to go and have their bandages changed regularly, and this is when they check out the healing progress and how much progress they have made so far.
By posting the pics on Facebook the couple wanted to to raise awareness for other people who like to travel and possibly help doctors with diagnosing this condition easier.
The idea behind their desire to post the story on Facebook is not only to warn all the people who visit exotic places, but also to help doctors without experience regarding this particular infection to be able to easily identify the condition and treat it properly. The couple simply wanted to spare others from enduring the few trips to different hospitals that they had to make.
We congratulate the brave young people for sharing their horrible experience, but still it was not very pleasant to witness the pictures and imagine what they went through. We hope that the message get spread and nobody gets infected going forward.