It's summertime and that means enjoying the nice weather and hanging out on the beach.
But while we all love swimming and lounging out in the hot sun, one mother from Memphis, Tennessee is warning parents about the dangers of hanging out on the beach after her son contracted parasitic hookworms after he was buried in the sand.
In June, Michael Dumas and 17 other teenage boys from his church went on a missionary trip to Miami, Florida, where they decided to enjoy one afternoon at Pompano Beach.
However, Dumas would suffer severe consequences after he and four other teens returned home and discovered they had incurred hookworms in their feet.
Dumas had the most acute case, which prompted his mother, Kelli Mulhollen Dumas to issue a warning on Facebook.
"I’m a dentist, and I have a degree in biology — I have dissected things. Science is my gig,” Mullhollen Dumas said in an interview with PEOPLE.
"But hearing your son has parasitic worms inside of his body and that they’re replicating and growing? As a mother, my stomach tightened up into a big tight ball and started flipping around. I thought I was going to throw up," she continued.
His parents took Dumas to their family pediatrician, where they discovered how expensive the medication would cost.
"He has taken Clindamyacin, Ivermectin, a steroid dose pack, and Albenza which cost $1356 for 6 pills (yes that is with insurance and yes I had to pay it!)," Mulhollen Dumas wrote on Facebook.
"He is in pain and this is AWFUL. Never be buried in sand or allow your children to be either! I am only showing a few pictures because it is so disturbing," she added.
While doctors found multiple hookworms in underneath Dumas' skin, they were stunned to discover one measuring three inches long.
Along with taking several pills, teenager also had to endure a painful cryotherapy session to get rid of the parasites.
"The doctor started on his left foot, between his toes," Mulhollen Dumas told PEOPLE. "That’s when Michael told her that he could feel the worms moving inside of his body trying to get away as she was torching them. That was disgusting."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the hookworms can enter an individual's skin if they walk barefoot in areas that could potentially have fecal contamination.
Symptoms of having an infection caused by hookworms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue and anemia.
When the family contacted the Health Department in Pompano Beach, Mulhollen Dumas claims they were told that, "Everyone knows to wear shoes on the beach because you can get parasites."
However, the shocked mother "assured them everyone does NOT KNOW THAT!!"
Mulhollen Dumas said her son will have permanent scaring from the incident, and is giving out a warning this could happen to anybody.
"My son is going to have permanent scars from this. He has a gaping wound on his right foot. He has four sutures. This is not a joke," Mullhollen Dumas told PEOPLE.
"This is beyond any scope, I never dreamed this is something that would happen," she concluded.
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