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Imagine sinking your toes into the warm sand, the sound of crashing waves filling your ears. It sounds idyllic, right?

Beneath that seemingly pristine beach lurks an unseen danger: hookworms. These tiny parasitic worms can burrow under your skin, causing an irritating, itchy rash.

Even though it isn’t life-threatening, a hookworm infection can dampen your beach holidays.

@bbbbeeston

Replying to @Amend Miss my worm :( #tombeeston #thailand

♬ original sound – Tom Beeston

What You Need to Know About Hookworms

Where Are They Found?

Hookworms are most commonly found in tropical and subtropical regions. They thrive in areas with poorer sanitation, where infected animals like stray dogs and cats defecate. That can typically be places like the beach, soil, and even fertilisers.

Grown hookworms are 1 to 1.9cm long, so they’re really hard to see with the naked eye. Their eggs hatch in warm, moist sand, and their larvae incubate, waiting for their next unsuspecting host – you!

Signs And Symptoms

If you have been frolicking on the beach and experience these symptoms within a few days, you might have a hookworm infection:

  • Itchy, raised red rash, often appearing on the feet, buttocks or hands
  • Tingling or burning sensation at the infection site
  • Fatigue and nausea (only in severe cases)

Treatment

If you suspect a hookworm infection, see a doctor immediately. They will be able to diagnose the infection and prescribe medication to eliminate the worms.

Remember not to panic! In most cases, the infection clears up quickly with proper treatment.

Prevention Is KEY

Afraid? Don’t fret. Here’s how to enjoy the sand safety:

  • Wear footwear: Walking barefoot on the beach might seem nice at the moment, but it exposes your skin to potential hookworm larvae. Opt for sandals or water shoes instead.
  • Choose your spot wisely: Avoid beaches frequented by stray animals.
  • Don’t lie directly on the sand: Towels or beach mats create a barrier between you and the sand to minimise hookworm contact.
  • Rinse off after the beach: A quick shower or salt water rinse can help remove any lingering larvae.
  • Keep your furry friends clean: If you bring your pet to the beach, make sure they’re dewormed to prevent them from spreading hookworms.