POMPANO BEACH, Fla. — A teenager visiting Florida contracted hookworms while on the beach, according to reports.
While 17-year-old Michael Dumas was enjoying a fun day on Pompano Beach in southeast Florida last month during a mission trip, his friends buried him in the sand. That's when his mother says the trip became a nightmare.
The teen became infested with parasitic worms, according to WMC-TV.
“He is in pain and this is AWFUL,” his mom Kelli Mulhollen Dumas wrote on Facebook. “Never be buried in sand or allow your children to be either!”
His mother says that a doctor in Tennessee diagnosed her son, saying he had multiple hookworms living under his skin.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the parasitic larvae can penetrate human skin when walking barefoot on contaminated soil. Hookworms also tend to breed in warm climates. Risk factors include walking barefoot in areas like contaminated beaches and soil.
The teen had to be treated with $1,300 worth of medications. His lower body is covered in blisters, scabs and rashes. Doctors even had to freeze the worms in order to kill them.
The family says they contacted the Health Department in Pompano Beach who allegedly told them, “Everyone knows to wear shoes on the beach because you can get parasites.”
They are now hoping to warn others about the dangers of the beach.
"It's horrible and it's so painful. He's been through so much pain," his mother told WHBQ. "I don't ever want anyone else to suffer like this. I posted this on Facebook to warn people that this can happen. I had no idea this could happen. I'm 54-years-old. I don't wear shoes on the beach. I wear flip-flops. I lay out my towel. I take off my flip-flops. I don't put my flips flops on until I leave the beach. I think that's what everyone does."